Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Valley of the Shaggie Burn with Monzie Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 184 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LVI 139 a

Catalogue entry

The subject is continued on folio 142 recto opposite (D03186; Turner Bequest LVI 140). Monzie Castle, a seat of the Campbell clan, dates from the early seventeenth century, but the present building, as drawn by Turner, had been erected only a decade before his visit, in 1791, to designs by John Paterson (working 1780s–died 1832) which incorporated the earlier structure. The heavy castellated towers and façade with a segmental central bay are in the grand semi-classicising style of the Adam brothers; Paterson was in fact Clerk of Works in the office of Robert Adam at the time Monzie was built. Here the castle is seen from the north-east, as Turner approached it from Monzie village.
Further views are on folios 143 verso–144 recto and 144 verso–145 recto (D03189–D03192; Turner Bequest LVI 141a–142, 142a–143). These drawings hardly constitute a sufficiently detailed record to suggest that Turner intended to make a finished view of the house, though it may have occurred to him that its owner might be glad of a picture of the new building. If he had proceeded with such a work, based on a broad panorama like this one or that on D03189–D03190, it would have foreshadowed interestingly the oil painting of 1818 depicting Raby Castle in County Durham (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore),1 where a similarly castellated house is seen in extensive rolling country.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).

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