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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Staffa from the North 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 40 Recto:
Staffa from the North 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 40
Pencil on white wove paper, 116 x 186 mm
Inscribed in blue ink by John Ruskin ‘40’ top left running vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXIII 40’ top right running vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This view of Staffa was made from the north as Turner approached the island on the steamboat, the Maid of Morven (see folio 43; D26823). The artist visited the island on a day trip from Tobermory on Mull to see Fingal’s Cave, which he had been asked to paint in watercolour to be engraved as the vignette for the Lord of the Isles volume of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works: Fingal’s Cave, Staffa circa 1833–4 (whereabouts unknown).1 Having made a quick sketch recording the general shape of the island on the reverse of this page (folio 40 verso; D26818) Turner was now able, as he drew closer, to make a more detailed study of the island, this time including the basalt columns which make it so famous. Further views of the island are on folios 8 verso–9, 18 verso–22 verso, 24 verso, 27 verso–30 verso, 34 verso, 35, 39 and 42 (D26760–D26761, D26777–D26785, D26788, D26794D26800, D26806, D26807, D26815, D26821).
With the sketchbook turned to the right are the continuations of two sketches from folio 39 verso (D26816).

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.429 no.1089.

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Staffa from the North 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-staffa-from-the-north-r1135175, accessed 18 September 2021.