Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trongate, Glasgow


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 60

Catalogue entry

Isolate from the rest of the Glasgow sketches, which appear later in the sketchbook and concentrate on the area around the cathedral, this is a view of the Trongate, one of the oldest streets in the city. The view was identified by David Wallace-Hadrill who also made a note of one of the coach routes that ran from the street.1 This fact points to the likelihood that Turner arrived or departed at the Trongate by coach. Apart from this single sketch, however, his interest in Glasgow centred on the Cathedral (see folio 73 verso; D26399).
This view was taken from the western end of Gallowgate and looks west along Trongate with the steeple of the Tron Kirk (the only part of the church still standing today) at the left and the steeple of the Tollbooth at the right. Turner had no room for the Tollbooth steeple at the top of this sketch so he had to draw this detail as a separate sketch at the bottom right of the page. This he drew with the book turned to the left. The ‘obstruction’ at the centre of the sketch, Wallace-Hadrill noted, is probably an equestrian sculpture seen from the end-on that once stood in the street.2 This is roughly the site of the modern Mercat Cross (erected in 1930).

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill, [CCLXIX Checklist], [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, unpaginated MS. Wallace-Hadrill noted the route to Perth which was advertised in a paper called the Journal, 7 July 1831. Turner’s itinerary is discussed in the Tour Introduction: Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Prose Works 1834.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like