Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tantallon Castle

1818

Not on display
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 99 x 159 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13337
Turner Bequest CLXV 9

Catalogue entry

This ‘Ruin on Rocks’ as Finberg describes it, bears a close resemblance to William Daniell’s aquatint, Tantallon Castle, Haddingtonshire 1822 (Tate T02922). Both this drawing and Daniell’s print show the castle from the sea or nearby rocky outcrop to the north, although Turner’s view is from closer to the cliff edge, making the angle at which the castle is drawn steeper and more dramatic. In these sketches Turner makes little attempt to distinguish rock from masonry. In fact, in his watercolours of Dunbar, Tantallon and the fortifications of Bass Rock, all seem to be composed of the same stuff upon which they stand, as if the man-made fortifications are a natural extension of nature’s defences.

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

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