Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views of Islay and Jura from Port Askaig; and a Sketch of Rocks

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26503
Turner Bequest CCLXX 34 a

Catalogue entry

Two of the sketches on this page were probably made from the same place: Port Askaig on the island of Islay, Inner Hebrides (see folio 37 verso; D26509 for references).1 Running parallel to the fore-edge of the page is a sketch of the view looking north from Port Askaig with the coast of Islay on the left and Jura, with two of the mountain peaks known as the Paps of Jura, on the right. There is a similar view on folio 79 verso (D26593).
With the sketchbook turned to the left is a small sketch of a chimney on the coast at the foot of the page inscribed ‘P Askaig’. Rather than Askaig itself, however, David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested that it may be the view from Port Askaig of the lead-smelting works at Freeport which is now called Caol Ila.2
The final and largest sketch on the page cannot be identified with as much certainty. The rapidly sketched pile of rocks gives no indication of topography, scale or location. While it may have been made at the same time as the other two sketches, the style differs (being much looser and broader), and the subject does not closely match the landscape of Islay. One possibility is the rocky summit of Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) near Loch Long, Argyll, of which Turner made a sketch with a similar character to this one a few pages away on folio 33 (D26500).

Thomas Ardill
January 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and in Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, folio 9, ‘checklist’ folio 3.
2
Ibid.

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