Joseph Mallord William Turner

Six Sketches of Tarbert Castle, Kintyre; and a Sketch of Knock Castle, Skye


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 201 × 125 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 83

Catalogue entry

Having landed at East Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula (see folio 88 verso; D26610) Turner made numerous sketches of East Loch Tarbert, paying particular attention to Tarbert Castle. In order to make the six sketches of the castle on this page, Turner climbed up the hill to the south of the loch where the ruins of the castle stand.
At the top of the page are three sketches of different elevations of the castle that record its crumbling architecture, but ignore its setting. These are, from left to right, the north corner, the north-west side, and the north east side. These sketches demonstrate that the structure has disintegrated still further since Turner’s day, the lower structure at the front of the castle no longer being extant.
Beneath the three elevations are three sketches that show the castle within its landscape setting. The uppermost is a view from the west and includes the mouth of East Loch Tarbert in the background to the left. Beneath this is a view of the road below the castle to the east, including part of the town of Tarbert at the right. The bottommost of the castle sketches was made from the hill to the east, and shows the castle on a slope with East Loch Tarbert beyond to the right.
At the bottom of the page, drawn with the sketchbook inverted, is a sketch inscribed ‘Knock’. This is Castle Camus, also known as Knock Castle, at the south of the Isle of Skye. The view is probably from the south-west, made as Turner approached the castle from Ardvasar where he had recently landed. For further views of the castle see folio 78 (D26590).1

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folio 12].

Read full Catalogue entry


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