J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Bass Rock from the South-West 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 12 Recto:
Bass Rock from the South-West 1818
Turner Bequest CLXV 12
Pencil on white laid paper, 99 x 159 mm
Stamped in black ‘CLXV 12’ top right running vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This slight sketch is made with the book inverted, and, like the one made on folio 11 verso (D13342; CLXV 11a), it shows the Bass Rock seen from the coast to the south-west. In order to understand why Turner made this sketch, and what it added to his knowledge of the island, it is useful to study the two pages in relation to each other. Although they show the same view, variations in the shape of the rock suggest that Turner may have made one to clarify the other, or they could be from slightly different viewpoints. It is not certain which drawing was made first. There are similar views following this in the sketchbook (folios 12 verso and 13; D13344 and D13345; CLXV 12a and 13), and there are numerous sketches of the Bass Rock in this and the other two 1818 sketchbooks, as well as the King’s Visit to Scotland sketchbook (Tate D17516, D17521, D17645, D17646, D17647; Turner Bequest CC 5, 7a, 78a, 79, 79a) from 1822. All were made in connection to an engraving design in watercolour for Scott’s Provincial Antiquities: Bass Rock, circa 1824 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight).1

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1069.

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Bass Rock from the South-West 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2007, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-bass-rock-from-the-south-west-r1131885, accessed 25 July 2021.