Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rosyth and Borthwick Castles; the Continuation of a Sketch of Bass Rock; Buildings


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVI 30

Catalogue entry

There are three drawings on this page: a sketch of Rosyth Castle, the continuation of a sketch of the Bass Rock from the previous page (folio 29 verso; D13506), a composition of Borthwick Castle, and a tiny sketch of some buildings. Rosyth is drawn at the top of the page, seen on its island with the coastline of the Firth of Forth behind it (see folio 31 verso; D13510). To the left is an inscription, ‘Rosyth’, and there is another illegible inscription below.
Along the middle and at the bottom of the page is the continuation of a drawing of Bass Rock from folio 29 verso. A faint horizontal line across the page shows the horizon, broken at the right by the coastline; at the bottom is the cliff edge at Tantallon Castle which makes up the foreground of the picture.
At the bottom right, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, is a drawing of Borthwick Castle. It is one of several similar compositions in this and the Scotch Antiquities sketchbook which form the basis for Turner’s illustration of the subject for the Provincial Antiquities publication (see folio 28; D13503). Although all made from a similar viewpoint and following a similar compositional design, there are variations in each version of the subject. This sketch makes a feature of the trees in the foreground, viewing the castle from between the trees so that they take up a large space in the picture and frame the structure on each side.
At the top right of the page, again drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, are two minute sketches of buildings. The inscription next to it could read ‘Forth’ or ‘Roslin’.

Thomas Ardill
December 2007

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