Joseph Mallord William Turner

Stirling Castle; and Two Small Sketches of Loch Fyne


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 16

Catalogue entry

The main sketch on this page is of Stirling Castle as seen from the Ladies’ Rock to the south. This is Turner’s most detailed study of the castle in this sketchbook, showing the buildings and parapets as well as the rock they stand upon in careful detail. Beneath the castle to the left is part of the Carse of Stirling, a flat and low-lying area of land to the west of the town, with the outlines of the distant mountains of Ben Ledi and Ben Vorlich.1 There is a similar view from close by on the reverse of this page (folio 16 verso; D26467), and views of the castle from the Esplanade on folios 8 verso and 9 (D26451, D26452). For references to further sketches of Stirling, see folio 13 (D26460).
Flanking the sketch of the castle at the top left of the page are two sketches of Loch Fyne, as seen from the ferry between St Catherine’s and Inveraray. Turner passed through St Catherine’s as part of a tour in 1831. This tour took him by steamboat up Loch Long and Loch Goil, by coach from Lochgoilhead through Glen Goil and Hell’s Glen, and across Loch Fyne by ferry from St Catherine’s to Inveraray.2
The top sketch (inscribed ‘Loch Fyne’) is of Inveraray, with the spire of the parish church as seen from the north (see folio 11 verso; D26457).3 Turner must have made this sketch from the ferry as he was approaching Inveraray Pier. Another ferry, further south down the loch, can be made out at the left by the plume of steam from its funnel. The same ferry is also seen at the right in the sketch below. This view looks south down Loch Fyne. For further sketches of Loch Fyne in this sketchbook see folio 19 verso (D26473).
The Loch Fyne sketches were obviously made after the sketch of Stirling Castle, as they fit into the spare space at the top right of the page. This gives a firm date of the Stirling Castle sketch to 1831. The possibility that some of Turner’s sketches of Stirling in this book were made or amended in 1834 is discussed in the entry to folio 15 verso (D26465).

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

First Identified by Crawford 1936, p.24.
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and in Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, folios 5–7.
Ibid., ‘checklist’.

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