Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Abbs Head and other Views of the Coast Near the Scottish Border


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 CC 81 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the right are sketches of the coastline around the eastern Scottish Borders. The sketch at the top of the page with two vessels at the left shows the shipping route along the east coast that Turner was now on, travelling from Edinburgh to London and recording the coastline as he went (see folio 78 verso; D17645 for details). The stretch of coast itself has not been identified, but there is a building labelled ‘church’ with what may be a lighthouse at the left.
The second sketch of a coastline is unidentified, but likely to be around the Scottish Borders area. The hills in the background are either the Lammermuir or Cheviot Hills. The third sketch down, has an inscription that Gerald Finley has read as ‘Barracks’ but may in fact be ‘Berwick’, referring to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Beneath this is a slight sketch of a headland inscribed ‘St Abbs Head’, a similar view of which is on folio 82 (D17652). The final two sketches and a slight sketch at the very bottom of the page are probably of the cliffs around St Abbs and Fast Castle (see folio 81; D17650).

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

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