Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Lochmaben Castle, Near Lockerbie


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 187 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 58 a

Catalogue entry

The sketches across this page and the next (folio 59; D25876) come closest to Turner’s watercolour of Lochmaben Castle circa 1832 (whereabouts unknown),1 which was re-imagined from these sketches and engraved for Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works. The present page, made with the sketchbook turned to the right, contains four sketches that show the castle from the south-east of Castle Loch. This is the third of seven pages (for references see folio 57 verso; D25874) that record Turner’s investigation of the castle as he walked around the loch in the town of Lochmaben near Lockerbie.
The ruins sit on a promontory that juts into the loch and are encircled by a ring of trees that partially obscure them; although in these sketches we see through the trees that are faintly indicated by vertical lines. The water of the loch is shown most clearly in the third sketch down, which perhaps of all the sketches comes closest to the appearance of the castle in the Scott design. More of the loch is shown in the foreground of the sketches on folio 59, which also contributed to the design. The second from top and the bottom sketch may have been the sources for an alternative watercolour design by Turner, Lochmaben Castle circa 1832 (private collection).2 In that painting the ruins are a similar shape to those in the second sketch, and the overall composition, showing the promontory from across the loch, is very similar to the small sketch squashed into the bottom of the page. There is another similar sketch at the top of folio 59.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.427–8 no.1075.
Wilton 1979, p.436 no.1150.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop