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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Seacliff House 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Recto:
Seacliff House 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVII 9
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed in blue ink ‘9’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXVII 9’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Rather than Tantallon Castle, as Finberg labelled this double-page view (continued on folio 9 verso; D13600; CLXVII 8c), this may be Seacliff House, built in 1750, just a few hundred metres east of Tantallon Castle along the East Lothian coast. Difficulties in identifying the house arise from its being rebuilt in 1841, and then gutted by fire in 1907. However, distinctive features in this sketch and another on folio 7 (D13596; CLXVII 7) still remain, namely the crow-stepped gable of the seaward side of the building with a cylindrical turret at the corner; features absent from Tantallon Castle.
Turner would have seen this view of the house by turning around to face the opposite direction from where he stood to sketch Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock on folios 8 verso–9 (D13598–D13599; CLXVII 8a–8b). The house stands near the cliff edge, below which is Seacliff beach, and faces north towards the Bass Rock. There is a view of Bass Rock from the beach on folio 8 (D13597; CLXVII 8) which looks up to the house from beneath.

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Seacliff House 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-seacliff-house-r1132149, accessed 21 May 2022.