Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tantallon Castle and The Bass Rock


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 79 a

Catalogue entry

Returning to London from Edinburgh by boat Turner sketched Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock from the water as he passed between them (see folio 79; D17646) and, turning to his right and left, continued drawing them as he moved away to the south-east. At the top of the present page, used with the sketchbook turned to the right, Tantallon Castle is seen from a little way to the east, perched on a cliffy headland. The castle is shown again in the third and forth sketches, now from further away so that more of the coastline is in view as well as North Berwick Law, which is seen in the distance to the west. Turner had made a similar sketch of this view in the Bass Rock and Edinburgh sketchbook in 1818 (Tate D13332; Turner Bequest CLXV 6a).
The two Bass Rock sketches, the second from top and the bottom sketch, show the island from the east, with the now familiar motif of a boat passing by in the upper sketch (see folio 78 verso; D17645 and folio 79).
Turner’s final sketches of Tantallon and the Bass are on the opposite page (folio 80; D17648).

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

Read full Catalogue entry


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