Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Frater Hall of Dunfermline Abbey


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 2 a

Catalogue entry

The ruins of the Frater Hall of Dunfermline Abbey are seen here from the south.1 At the left of the sketch is the archway known as the Pends, which can be seen in a sketch on the reverse of this page (folio 2; D26438). Above the wall of the Frater range is the north-west spire of the abbey church. Turner’s sketch, while economical in finish, is precise in detail, recording a wealth of architectural features such as buttresses, arches, windows and tracery. The sketch may have contributed in a small way to Turner’s watercolour, Dunfermline circa 1834–5 (private collection),2 which includes this part of the abbey in front of the abbey church. The sketch on which Turner based the church (folio 3 verso; D26441) did not include the Frater Hall in any detail, so Turner probably referred to the present sketch for that part of his design.
Turner visited Dunfermline on his way from Edinburgh to Stirling in 1831 and later used his sketches as the basis for an illustration to a new edition of Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather. See folio 3 verso (D26441) for details and references to further sketches.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

Identified by Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.14.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.433 no.1121.

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