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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Tantallon Castle and Seacliff House 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
Tantallon Castle and Seacliff House 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVII 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘R | R’ centre; ‘Grey’ lower centre right
Inscribed in blue ink ‘14’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXVII 14’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Having sketched Tantallon Castle from the west Turner continuing moving round the castle, here sketching it from the north, probably from the headland that is shown at the left of the previous drawing in this sketchbook, Gin Head near Castleton (folio 13 verso–14; D13607–D13608; CLXVII 12a–13). We therefore look east along the coast towards the castle and beyond towards the crags known as St Baldred’s Boat (folio 14 verso; D13609; CLXVII 13a) upon which there now stands a lighthouse (see folio 11; D13603; CLXVII 10). Just beyond the castle to the right can be seen Seacliff House. Inscriptions on the headland refer to areas of ‘grey’ and ‘r[ed]’ rock, and the sky is ‘grey’ in the east (14 verso). The viewpoint is very similar to William Daniell’s aquatint of Tantallon Castle, Haddingtonshire 1822 (Tate T02922).
If we are to regard the order of drawings in this sketchbook as the order in which they were made (which we can to a certain extent) then it is possible to follow Turner’s progress from south and south-east of the castle (folios 3–4 verso; D13589, D13590, D13591; CLXVII 3, 4, 4a), to the east (5–5 verso and 8 verso–9; D13592–D13593 and D1398–D1399; CLXVII 5, 5a, 8a, 8b), back to the south (11 verso–12; D13604–D13605; CLXVII 10a, 11), round to the west (13–14; D13606, D13607, D13608; CLXVII 12–13), and here from the north.

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Tantallon Castle and 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-tantallon-castle-and-seacliff-house-r1132158, accessed 20 May 2022.