Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of the River Clyde at Dumbarton; and Finlaggan Castle, Islay


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 72

Catalogue entry

The main drawing on this page is of Finlaggan Loch on Islay, with the island of Eilean Mòr and the castle on it (see folio 70 verso; D26575 for further references). The view is from the west and looks east towards the Island of Jura with the conical peaks of the Paps. Turner made a similar view from a little further off on folio 39 verso (D26513).
At the head of the page is a sketch of the River Clyde looking east from a point on the river to the west of Dumbarton. Dumbarton Rock can be seen at the left with the Kilpatrick Hills behind it, and to the right is the dark silhouette of a steamboat with a puff of smoke coming out of its funnel. Turner travelled on the Clyde and the lochs on a steamboat similar to this one. The present sketch must have been made during one of these trips – either to Loch Long, or to Islay, as both journeys required a journey by boat up the Clyde beyond Dumbarton. There are further sketches of Dumbarton in this sketchbook (see folio 82 verso; D26598) and in the Loch Long sketchbook (see inside front cover; Tate D41131).
Beneath the Clyde sketch are the continuation of three sketches of Dumbarton Rock from folio 71 verso (D26577). The middle sketch includes the tiny depiction of a steamboat.

Thomas Ardill
January 2010

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