Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches of Borthwick Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVII 76 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the right and divided horizontally into three are three sketches of Borthwick Castle from difference viewpoints. The top sketch follows the previous two in this sketchbook (folios 83 verso and 84; D13723, D13724; CLXVII 75a, 76) in showing the castle from the north-west. The castle itself is indicated with a faint outline although the rest of the landscape and the other battlements are more firmly drawn. Turner has noted that a tree in front of the castle is an ‘elm’ and another may be a ‘large larch’. At the left of the sketch is a small arched bridge crossing the River Gore.
The middle sketch shows the east side of the castle where the damage cause by cannon fire from Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1650 is still visible, and the east parapet has been partially destroyed. The sketch at the bottom of the page is from the south and we look along a winding gorge towards the castle with the tower at the south-west corner of the curtain wall (left) and further outbuildings at the right. This sketch was reworked in the Scotland and London sketchbook (D13814; CLXX 1).
Folio 85 verso of this sketchbook is similarly used in the portrait format for three sketches from different angles (D13727; CLXVII 77a).

Thomas Ardill
April 2008

Read full Catalogue entry


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