Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins of Elgin Cathedral from the South-East

1831

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 163 x 104 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D27202
Turner Bequest CCLXXVII 131 a

Catalogue entry

These two sketches of Elgin Cathedral are both from the south-east. In the upper sketch only the towers at the western end of the cathedral can be seen, the eastern end being obscured by trees. In the foreground is the two-arched bridge over the River Lossie.
The sketch at the bottom of the page brings us closer to the cathedral and includes Lossie Bridge again, this time at the right of the sketch. At the left is Pans Port, the only remaining one of the four arched access gates through the original precinct wall. As David Wallace-Hadrill has pointed out, the crow-stepped gables over the arch were added after Turner drew it in 1831.1 Wallace-Hadrill has read the inscription below this sketch as ‘Lo’, presumably as part of the word ‘Lossie’ referring to the river. Another possibility is ‘Sa’ or ‘San’, part of the word ‘sand’ referring to the banks of the river.
There is another sketch of Lossie Bridge on folio 132 (D27203). See folio 139 (D27215) for references to further sketches of Elgin Cathedral.

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Sketchbook CCLXXVII Inverness’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [unpaginated].

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