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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Stirling From Abbey Craig 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Stirling From Abbey Craig 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXX 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 125 x 201 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘Quarry’ top right, and ‘Road to [?]Ochil’ lower centre
Inscribed in red ink by John Ruskin ‘14’ bottom left descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCLXX – 14’ bottom left descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The three sketches on this page were all likely to have been made from the neighbourhood of Abbey Craig, the hill to the north of Stirling. Across the centre of the page is a view of Stirling Castle from the west of the hill with a turn of the River Forth in the background. There are similar views on folios 12 verso and 13 (D26459, D26460) on which Turner based his watercolour of Stirling circa 1834–5 (Glasgow Museums).1
Trees and a hillside are depicted at the bottom of the page in what may be the foreground of the main sketch, though David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan assume that it is a separate drawing.2 An inscription at the centre looks like ‘Road to’, the last word perhaps being ‘Ochil’ referring to the hills to the north of Stirling.
The rough sketch at the top of the page is inscribed ‘Quarry’ which Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan have suggested is either the quarry to the west of Stirling (which they point out would have been out of sight from Abbey Craig), or a quarry near the Craig or the Ochil Hills.3 The most likely location, however, is the mill stone quarry at the eastern end of Abbey Craig which Turner included in his watercolour. There is a sketch of a crane on folio 13 that Turner must have seen at work in the quarry. The shape of the hill rising at the left of the sketch matches the foreground of the sketch on the reverse of the page (folio 14 verso; D26463).

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.433 no.1122.
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.17.

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Stirling From Abbey Craig 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 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-stirling-from-abbey-craig-r1134896, accessed 29 February 2020.