Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views on The Sound of Mull: Salen and Tobermory


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 49

Catalogue entry

These sketches of coastlines of the Sound of Mull are identifiable by Turner’s inscriptions. The top sketch carries the note ‘Salen’ at the top right, indicating the Mull village half way up with Sound, and telling us that this is a view looking south-east down the Sound of Mull. There is another view towards Salen on the reverse of this page (folio 49 verso; D26837). At the left is a small island which must be Eileanan Glasa.
Beneath is a sketch inscribed ‘Tobermory’, and although the village is not visible, Turner added the note to indicate that this was the direction he was facing when he made this sketch. It therefore shows a view north up the Sound of Mull from near Salen. The low island between two headlands is Calve Island opposite Tobermory Bay.
The sketch at the bottom of the page shows three headlands inscribed ‘5’, ‘3’ and ‘1’. The shore is perhaps too mountainous to be Mull from the north-west, so it is more likely to be Morvern from the south-east. Turner’s numbers may stand for different degrees of tone, perhaps indicating that the furthest headland is in deeper shadow.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

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