Joseph Mallord William Turner

Town on Coast, ?Fort William


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 × 116 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 14

Catalogue entry

This ‘town on [the] coast’ as Finberg called it,1 is likely to be Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. A sketch opposite in the book (folio 13 verso; D26769) has been identified as a view of the town from the north-east, making this likely to be a view from the north, probably from around Inverlochy. We look towards the pier with Cow Hill at the left and Loch Linnhe at the right. At the bottom left of the sketch is an archway which may be a bridge in the foreground, or perhaps a separate detail. Something that suggests that it may be the latter are the numbers inscribed on the arch (‘1’ and ‘2’) and on the pier (‘3’ and ‘2’). These may suggest that this is a close-up detail of an object from around the pier. It could perhaps be the arched entrance to the old fort which can also be seen in a sketch on folios 8 verso–9 (D26760–D26761).
For further sketches of Fort William see folio 8 verso.
Finberg 1909, II, p.875.

Thomas Ardill
April 2010

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