Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches in Inverness; and Urquhart Castle


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 150 × 180 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXVI 20 a

Catalogue entry

Turner first used this page for a sketch, drawn at the bottom of the page with the sketchbook inverted, of Urquhart Castle as seen from Loch Ness to the North. There is a similar view on folio 14 verso (D26989). For further sketches of the castle see folio 19 (D26998).
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified the middle sketch on this page as ‘Inverness Spires? From the shore of Moray Firth to [the north-east] of [the] city?’1 The curve of the river in the foreground is consistent with the entrance to the River Ness from the Moray Firth, and the hill to the right could be Craig Phadrig, which lies to the west of Inverness. Above is a sketch that Wallace-Hadrill suggested may be Fort George, although he also pointed out in his note that there is no spire there.2 A more likely identification is that this is one of the church spires of Inverness seen from the same point as the sketch below.
Having travelled up the length of the Caledonian Canal and arrived at Muirtown Basin in Inverness (folio 46 verso; D27043), Turner seems to have walked the half-mile east to the northern end of Inverness, where the River Ness joins the Moray Firth. This, and a sketch of Cromwell’s Tower on folio 2 (D26967), were the last sketches that he made in the Fort Augustus sketchbook. Having arrived at Inverness he bought himself a new sketchbook in which he made his final sketches of this tour of Scotland: Inverness sketchbook (Tate D27046–D27225; D41038–D41039 complete; Turner Bequest CCLXXII).

Thomas Ardill
April 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner’s 1831 Sketchbook T.B. CCLXXVI Fort Augustus’, [circa 1992–3], Tate catalogue files, [unpaginated].

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