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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Broadford Bay with Scalpay in the Distance, and a View in the Opposite Direction 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 69 Verso:
Broadford Bay with Scalpay in the Distance, and a View in the Opposite Direction 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXX 69a
Pencil on white wove paper, 125 x 201 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ?‘Loch alsh’ top
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketch at the bottom left of this page was identified with the help of Turner’s inscription ‘Scalp’ which refers to the island Scalpay as seen here from Broadford Bay.1 The structure in the foreground is probably Broadford’s Old Pier at the south of Broadford Bay. At the left are a series of small buildings. These may be the lime works that once stood around this point.2 Part of Scalpay is seen around the far side of the bay with the hill Beinn na Caillich to the left.
At the top of the page is a sketch of a coastline with a pier at the right. Turner labelled this sketch with what David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have read as ‘Loch Clach’, and therefore taken to be a view of the village of Clachan on the island of Raasay.3 There is, however, no further evidence that Turner went to Raasay, and the landscape is not a good match for a view from the harbour. A more likely explanation is surely that this is a view of Broadford Bay looking north-east from the west, with the Old Pier at the right and the mainland seen beyond the end of the bay. Turner’s inscription could therefore refer to ‘Loch Alsh’, which lies to the east of Broadford Bay, though is probably not visible in this view. A row of vertical dashes in the water may represent the remains of a pier, or may just be shading.
Between the two sketches already discussed at the left of the page is a small sketch of a building with hills in the distance and sheets of rain in a cloudy sky. This may be one of the buildings (perhaps the lime kiln) that are shown in the Broadford sketch. It is worth noting that Turner included similar clouds and rain in another sketch of Broadford Bay (folio 12; D26458).
See folio 12 for references to further sketches of Broadford Bay.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace–Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 21, 32].
Ordnance Survey 6-inch map, Aberdeenshire, 1870, sheet LXX.
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan [circa 1991], [folio 24, 32].

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Broadford Bay with Scalpay in the Distance, and a View in the Opposite Direction 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2010, 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-broadford-bay-with-scalpay-in-the-distance-and-a-view-in-the-r1135007, accessed 17 January 2022.