Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turrets of a Building


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 159 × 99 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 66

Catalogue entry

Finberg describes this page, drawn with the book turned to the portrait format, as ‘a loose leaf which may have belonged to this book’, and while the size of the page, the type of paper and the watermark all match the rest of the sheets in the sketchbook (see for example watermark on folio 65; D13437; CLXV 63), and the style of the drawings on its recto and verso confirm this, it does not tell us where in the sketchbook this page belongs.
The building to which these sketches of ‘turrets’ belong, could therefore be one of several depicted, or not depicted, in this sketchbook. They resemble, for example, the castellated corner towers of Craigmillar Castle (see Scotch Antiquities sketchbook (Tate D13707; Turner Bequest CLXVII 67a), or some of the towers of Edinburgh Castle. The closest building, according to Turner’s other sketches, however, is the Governor’s House of Calton Gaol on Calton Hill. On folio 65 (D13437; CLXV 63), Turner drew a detail of the castellated towers of the Governor’s House which resemble the tower shown on this page. Its shape, the lateral detail at each floor, and the arched windows all match the building as it still appears today. The number ‘3’ inscribed on one of the details may indicate that this architectural feature appears three times on the building.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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