Joseph Mallord William Turner

Skiddaw from the South of Derwentwater

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25800
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 20 a

Catalogue entry

Despite Finberg’s suggestion that this sketch may depict Ullswater, it in fact formed the basis of Turner’s watercolour Skiddaw circa 1832 (whereabouts unknown),1 engraved to illustrate volume 11 (The Bridal of Triermain) of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works.2 Skiddaw had been chosen by Scott and his publisher Robert Cadell as the frontispiece illustration before Turner arrived in the Lake District, and it was confirmed, perhaps partly on the strength of Turner’s sketches, when the artist met the two men during the next stage of his 1831 tour.
This view of the hill was made from the southern end of Derwentwater. The foreground includes boulders beneath Lodore with the mouth of the River Derwent joining the lake. A possible inscription at the lower centre of the page has not been deciphered, but the label on the distant hill clearly refers to Skiddaw. Turner also drew an outline of the hill in the Rokeby and Appleby sketchbook (Tate D25610; Turner Bequest CCLXIV 44a) which also contributed to the design as Finberg acknowledged.3 See also the inside front cover of the present sketchbook for another sketch (D41077).
There are further sketches of Derwentwater on folios 18 verso–22 (D25796–D25803).
This sketch continues at the right slightly onto folio 21 (D25801).

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.429 no.1090.
2
David Hill refers to a sketch of Skiddaw from the South of Derwentwater in this sketchbook, though he does not specify that it is the present sketch: David Hill, Turner in the North: A Tour through Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, the Scottish Borders, the Lake District, Lancashire and Lincolnshire in the Year 1797, New Haven and London 1996, pp.108, 201 note 20.
3
Finberg 1909, II, p.849, CCLXIV 44a.

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