Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Courtyard of Dunstaffnage Castle, Looking East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 87 a

Catalogue entry

This second sketch of the interior of the courtyard of Dunstaffnage Castle looks east towards the side of the gatehouse at the right, with the ruins of the West Range at the centre and more of the west wall beyond. As David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have pointed out, this sketch and another view of the courtyard (folio 87; D26912) are panoramic, ‘presenting rather more than the two sides of the rectangular courtyard in a single plane.’1
Although the sketch is a fairly rapid one, Turner has recorded the details of the windows, gables, chimney and stairs. Above the drawing is a small sketch, inscribed ‘1725’, of one of the ogee window arches from the house that was built over the old West Range in that year. The date was apparently carved above a window on the north wall. The building, already severely damaged from a fire in 1810, has since become more ruinous.
Turner made a number of sketches of Dunstaffnage from the vicinity of the castle and from a slight distance; see folio 89 (D26916) for references to these sketches.

Thomas Ardill
January 2010

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, p.23.

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