Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views North and South From Gallanach Cliffs Near Oban


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 60 a

Catalogue entry

Here Turner uses the same page for views to the north and south from the same spot: Gallanach Road, which runs south along the coast for about two and a half miles. The top sketch shows the view to the north. From near the water’s edge we look up to the vertical wall of the Gallanach Cliffs to the right, and beyond it up the Sound of Kerrera. Oban is hidden behind the cliff, but part of the bay can be made out. Beyond the bay, on a headland, stands Dunollie Castle which Turner made a number of sketches of (see folio 95; D26928). On the left is part of the island of Kerrera.
Above the sketch Turner wrote the word ‘Gaspard’, which as John Gage has noted, refers to the French artist, Gaspard Dughet (1615–75).1 It may be that something about the scene before him reminded Turner of the Old Master’s work, perhaps the combination of craggy rocks, water and the distant tower; or it may have been the appearance of the sky, which had interested him so much when he sketched the view on folio 60 (D26858; CCLXXIII 60). Turner also wrote ‘Gaspard’ next to sketches on folio 81 (D26900; CCLXXIII 81). Those sketches record a craggy but generalised landscape, suggesting that Turner was more interested in effects and general appearance than specific compositions.
The bottom sketch is again framed by Gallanach Cliffs, this time to the left as we are looking south. The view is of more cliffs receding into the distance along the Argyll coast.
There are further views up the Sound of Kerrera from Gallanach on folios 59 verso and 60 (D26857, D26858), and a series of sketches made from below the cliffs on folios 76 verso–79 (D26891–D26896).

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

Gage 1969, pp.97, 244 note 102.

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