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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Dunbar Castle 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 28 Recto:
Dunbar Castle 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVII 27
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed in blue ink ‘27’
Stamped in black ‘CLXVII 27’
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Built on a rocky promontory, the ruins of Dunbar Castle’s Keep are hard to distinguish from the rocks upon which they stand. In fact the strategically placed castle gives the appearance of having grown out of the rocks, and to be reverting into them as it crumbles. As Walter Scott put it in his description of Turner’s Dunbar illustration, ‘the massive vestiges of the castle which remain are scarcely to be discerned, in colour or shape, from the rude dark rocks on which they are founded’.1 There is another view of the keep on folio 27 (D13629; CLXVII 26).
There is a small brown mark at the left of the page.
The Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland with Descriptive Illustrations by Sir Walter Scott, Bart., Volume II, London and Edinburgh 1826, p.[147]–8.

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Dunbar Castle 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2008, 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-dunbar-castle-r1132178, accessed 16 January 2022.