Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Dalkeith; Crichton Castle and Borthwick Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVII 75

Catalogue entry

There are four sketches on this page. At the left is the continuation of a sketch of Dalkeith from folio 82 verso (D13721; CLXVII 74a), showing on the present page Dalkeith Church in the distance behind trees at the side of the Old Dalkeith Road. The rest of the page is divided into four. At the top of the page in the centre is a small sketch which probably shows Dalkeith again from a similar viewpoint. The same elements as the main sketch of Dalkeith are all present and in the same positions: river, bridge, town, church and hills.
The other two drawings are probably studio studies rather than plein air sketches, as both relate to the finished designs of Provincial Antiquities subjects. At the top right of the page is a small sketch of Crichton Castle which Turner may have made back in the studio in preparation for several works: a colour study in the Scotland and London sketchbook (Tate D13818; Turner Bequest CLXX 4), the watercolour, Crichton Castle, with Rainbow, circa 1818 (Yale Center for British Art, USA),1 and the Provincial Antiquities design: Crichton Castle, circa 1818 (watercolour, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York).2 The composition itself derives from a number of sketches in this and the Edinburgh, 1818 sketchbook (see Tate D13559; Turner Bequest CLXVI 56).
The sketch of Borthwick Castle at the bottom of the page may similarly be a design based on other drawings rather than a sketch in front of the motif. This view is from the south-west and shows the small arched bridge over the Gore Water which wraps around three sides of the castle. There are numerous sketches of Borthwick Castle in the Edinburgh, and Scotch Antiquities sketchbooks, and several faint preparatory designs for the Borthwick Castle watercolour, 1818 (Indianapolis Museum of Art)3 in the Scotland and London sketchbook that were certainly made in the studio rather than in front of the castle (Tate D13814 and D13815; Turner Bequest CLXX 1 and 2).

Thomas Ardill
April 2008

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.435 no.1143.
Ibid., p.425 no.1059.
Ibid., pp.425–6 no.1060.

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