Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Sketches of a Castle and one of a Landscape

1818

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 90 × 112 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13584
Turner Bequest CLXVI 69 a

Catalogue entry

While the four views on this page – two made with the sketchbook inverted, and two with the sketchbook turned to the right – are unidentified, their proximity to a sketch of Dalkeith on the opposite page (folio 70; D13585) makes it likely that they depict nearby buildings and landscapes.
The largest drawing at the bottom of the inverted page, and the sketch to the right of it, may show Melville Castle, an eighteenth-century mansion a few miles to the south-east of Edinburgh near Dalkeith, although there is not enough detail to be certain. To the right of this is another view of what is perhaps the same building on a hill and seen from a distance. Finally Turner has made a rough landscape view with a dark and cloudy sky onto which he has inscribed the colour notes, ‘Light’ and ‘Blue’. A rough sketch of an arched bridge (similar to the one on folios 67 verso–68; D13580–D13581) continues at the left to folio 70 (D13585).
Between two of the sketches in an inscription which Finberg and subsequent scholars have read as ‘Gamels Park’.1 While there is no place called Gamel in the area, research by the Gamell family reveals that the name, with several variations in the spelling, was not uncommon in the lowlands of Scotland until the middle of the nineteenth century.2 If Finberg is correct in his reading, the inscription could refer to a place associated with someone of that name. Another possibility is that Turner is referring in error to a place such as Gilmerton or Gowkshill, both within two or three miles of Dalkeith.

Thomas Ardill
January 2008

1
Finberg 1909, I. p.484, CLXVI 69a, and David Wallace-Hadrill, unpublished notes, [circa 1989–94], Tate catalogue files.
2
Alistair Gammell ‘Origin and History of the Name’, Gamell.net http://www.gammell.net/Origin&History.htm accessed 14 January 2008.

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