Joseph Mallord William Turner

Raby Castle: The East Front


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 232 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 19 a

Catalogue entry

The east front of Raby Castle is shown here, with Bulmer’s Tower on the left and Mount Raskelf at the centre, flanking the Chapel Tower above its archway, with the Kitchen Tower and Clifford’s Tower running back to the north-west and the gatehouse beyond to the right. There is a brief continuation of the trees to the right on folio 32 recto opposite (D12309; CLVI 28).
Comparing the drawing with the castle as it appears now, several small changes are evident. The large windows on the first floor of Bulmer’s Tower have been filled in, and the clock removed from below the battlements. The upper window of the Mount Raskelf tower has also been filled in, and the defensive machicolation over the Chapel Tower archway is no longer present.
Turner followed this drawing faithfully1 in the background of his watercolour of huntsmen at Raby (currently untraced),2 engraved in 1820 for Surtees’s History of Durham (see the introduction to the tour). He included a similar grouping of deer, but in place of the distant trio of figures he populated the foreground with huntsmen and hounds taken from other studies as set out in the entry for folio 24 recto (D12282; CLVI 13a), a rough sketch from the same direction.
As now bound and foliated, sketches of the castle and its surroundings fill most of the second half of the sketchbook, from folio 17 recto (D12298; CLVI 22a) to folio 32 recto (D12309; CLVI 28).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

See Rudd 2006, p.47.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.364 no.558.

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