Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches and Inscriptions: Castle Campbell; Diagrams; 23 St James’s Place


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 183 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

The variety of apparently unconnected sketches and inscriptions here suggest that Turner returned to the inside front cover of the Stirling and Edinburgh sketchbook on several occasions to make quick sketches and notations.
At the top of the page Turner noted an address: ‘23 St James[’s] P[lace] Piccadilly’. The Survey of London records that this house was in the 1830s occupied by the merchant and banker, Sir John William Lubbock.1 Turner had no known connection to Lubbock, but he did have strong connections with his next-door neighbour at number twenty-two, the poet Samuel Rogers.2 Rogers was a friend of Turner’s and in 1834, when this sketchbook was used in Scotland, Turner’s vignette illustrations to Roger’s Poems were published. This note may therefore have been made in connection to a visit or correspondence with the poet over the matter of the illustrations. Turner’s confusion with the address may be explained by the fact that numbers 22 and 23 St James’s Place were attached properties and had previously been a single dwelling,3 Though it is perhaps more likely that he had simply been careless.
The scribbled sketch across the top half of the page depicts a hilly landscape (perhaps inscribed ‘hills’ at the left) with a bridge or fence in the foreground at the lower centre and buildings at the left. The landscape has a similar appearance to sketches of Castle Campbell as seen from the town of Dollar on folio 70 verso of this sketchbook (D26393) and in the Loch Ard sketchbook (Tate D26688; Turner Bequest CCLXXII 12). The square outline of the castle is perhaps visible at the upper centre of the present sketch. Another sketch, boxed-off at the bottom left of the page and drawn with the book turned to the right, depicts a ruin in a landscape which may also be Castle Campbell.
Across the lower half of the page are several studies of vehicles or machinery. The square with two circles beneath it could be a crude representation of a coach or carriage (see folio 1; D26259), or perhaps a pulley. The grid or lattice at the centre of the page is related to another sketch on folio 1 that depicts some kind of lifting mechanism.

Thomas Ardill
February 2011

‘St. James’s Place’, Survey of London: volumes 29 and 30: St James Westminster, Part 1 (1960), pp. 511–41, accessed 18 February 2011 < Date accessed: 18 February 2011>.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop