Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of the Head of Loch Scavaig and Rum from Camasunary Bay


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 201 × 125 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 69

Catalogue entry

This page contains sketches made from the north-east corner of Loch Scavaig around Camasunary Bay, which Turner made on the way between Elgol and Loch Coruisk;1 David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carol suggest they were made on the return to Elgol, a likely suggestion if we consider that the sun is setting in some of these sketches.2
The top sketch shows a curving bay with a boat pulled up on the sand and with mountains to the right. The inscription ‘Ban’ has helped to identify this as Camasunary Bay, looking towards Rubha Bàn and the mountains of Sgurr na-Stri and Gars-bheinn. Between these mountains lies the entrance to Loch Coruisk through the Scavaig River. It has been suggested that Turner reached this point by boat after visiting Coruisk, and the boat with three figures still in it is shown at the right. Although a great sheet of rain is falling on Gars-bheinn, the disk of the sun can be seen, low in the sky and reflected in the water. The sketch below shows the same view, though this time from a few steps back, still with the sun in the sky. The inscription, ‘Cors’, indicates the entrance to Loch Coruisk between the two mountains, and at the left the island of Soay (inscribed ‘Soa’) can be seen.
The artist turned to his left to face south-west to draw the third sketch, a view of the Isle of ‘Rum’ with a corner of the Isle of Eigg to its left, and the southern tip of the Strathaird peninsula at the end of Loch Scavaig at the far left. Further sketches of Loch Scavaig from around this point were made on folios 70 (D26574) and on folio 38 (D26510), where the sun is shown in the same low position in the sky. See also folio 73 (D26580) for sketches of the head of the loch from near Elgol.
At the bottom of the page, drawn with the sketchbook inverted, is the slight continuation from folio 68 verso (D26571) of a sketch of Dunoon, and beneath this there is a sketch of Jura seen from across the Sound of Islay.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace–Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 19–20].

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