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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Loch Ailort from the Sound of Arisaig 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Inside Front Cover:
Loch Ailort from the Sound of Arisaig 1831
Turner Bequest
Pen and ink and pencil on white wove paper, 91 x 153 mm
Inscribed in pencil by an unknown hand ‘RBL | NJ /57 | L 2 1/2’ top right descending vertically
Inscribed in brown ink by H.S. Trimmer ‘384 | 6 leaves of slight pencil sketches | [signed] HST’ right of centre descending vertically
Signed in pencil by John Prescott Knight ‘JPK’ upper centre descending vertically
Signed in pencil by Charles Lock Eastlake ‘C.L.S.’ upper centre descending vertically
Blindstamped with the Turner Bequest stamp upper centre to the right of Trimmers’ inscription descending vertically (there is also the imprint of the blindstamp from the outside front cover at the lower right corner descending vertically)
Inscribed in pencil by A.J. Finberg ‘CCLXXV’ top right descending vertically
Stamped in black ink by A.J. Finberg ‘CCLXXV’ bottom right descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The first sketch that Turner made in the present sketchbook was apparently taken from the Sound of Arisaig. Having filled the pages of the thin Sound of Mull no.1 sketchbook (Tate D26936–D26948; D26950–D26954; D41019–D41020 complete; Turner Bequest CCLXXIV) as he travelled up the Sound of Mull from Oban, Turner then opened the even thinner Sound of Mull no.2 sketchbook as he approached Arisaig.
The present sketch has been identified as a view looking into Loch Ailort from the Sound of Arisaig, with the northern tip of the island of Eilean nan Gobhar at the right.1 It is curious that Turner drew the northern shore of the loch but ignored the more mountainous and interesting southern shore. The other sketches in the Sound of Mull no.2 sketchbook, however, demonstrate that Turner’s principal interest was the Isle of Skye, and that the present landscape was simply incidental to him.
The page carries the inscriptions of Henry Scott Trimmer, John Prescott Knight and Charles Lock Eastlake, the executors of the Turner Bequest, as well as the initials ‘RLB’ and ‘NJ’ and the numbers ‘57’ and ‘9 3/4’, which were written above the executors’ inscriptions and therefore probably written first. The significance of these inscriptions has not been determined.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace–Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folio 7].

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Loch Ailort from the Sound of Arisaig 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-loch-ailort-from-the-sound-of-arisaig-r1135295, accessed 19 May 2022.