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 59 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the right are four close-up sketches of the ruins of Lochmaben Castle (see folio 57 verso; D25874). The sketches show the four sides of the castle ruins and are inscribed ‘North’ (top sketch), ‘East’ (second sketch), ‘W’ and ‘N’ (west and north, third sketch), and what looks like ‘G’, but is more likely to be either ‘E’ or ‘S’ (bottom sketch) standing for East or South. A sketch at the bottom of folio 59 (D25877), which is inscribed ‘West’, also belongs to this group of studies.
Gerald Finley has pointed out that Turner’s sketches indicate that the castle was ringed by trees, and ‘although he could not have seen more than the odd piece of masonry through the trees, Turner jotted down the ruin’s coherent shape with some confidence.’1 This was possible in sketches such as those on folio 59 (D25877) because he studied the castle at close quarters beforehand. There are further close-up sketches on folio 60 (D25879).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Gerald Finley, Landscapes of Memory: Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, p.93.

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