Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Dunfermline Abbey Church


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 × 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 7

Catalogue entry

This page contains sketches of parts of the interior and exterior of Dunfermline Abbey Church.1 With the book turned to the landscape format (the gutter at the top) are details of pillars, arches and windows. These include, at the centre, pillars with a carved diagonal strip design and pillars with a chevron design. To the right are arched widows at the triforium and clerestory levels.
With the book in the portrait format (the gutter at the left) is a sketch at the top right of the page of the south-west corner of the church, with the north-west tower and spire and the smaller south-west tower. The number ‘6’, inscribed twice by Turner, indicates that there are six buttresses with six windows above. To the left of this sketch, drawn with the book turned to the left (gutter at the bottom) is a small study of a section of the newer church building (1821) to the east of the old nave. This shows one window flanked by shallow buttresses and a finial to the left. This is the westmost bay of the southern aisle. There is a sketch of the church interior on the reverse of this page: folio 7 verso (D26449).
Turner visited Dunfermline on his way from Edinburgh to Stirling in 1831 and later used his sketches as the basis for an illustration to a new edition of Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather. See folio 3 verso (D26441) for details and references to further sketches.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

Identified by Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.15.

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