Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rothesay, Isle of Bute; and the Isle of Rum From Loch Scavaig

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 125 × 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26502
Turner Bequest CCLXX 34

Catalogue entry

Across the top half of the page is a sketch of a town on the coast. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested a number of possibilities including Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. This suggestion seems likely, as at the centre of the sketch is the outline of a large ruin which is a close match for Rothesay Castle. There is another sketch of the town and castle, again seen from the water, on folio 37 (D26508). Turner seems to have stopped briefly at Rothesay during his journey by steamboat from the Clyde to Islay.
The sketch across the bottom half of the page is of the Isle of ‘Rum’, as seen from across Loch Scavaig to the north. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan suggest that the sketch was made from the shoulder of Sgurr na Stri, a hill to the west of Loch Coruisk, at the same time as he made views of Coruisk and Scavaig (folios 38 verso, 39 and 75 verso; D26511, D26512, D26585).1 However, the foreground looks more like a bay than the brow of a hill, suggesting Camasunary Bay at the north-east of Loch Scavaig as an alternative. Turner made various sketches of the head of the loch and Rum from this point (see folio 69; D26572). A part of the smaller island of Soay can be seen to the right of Rum, half hidden by the hill in the foreground.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, folio 19.

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