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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Bass Rock 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
The Bass Rock 1818
Turner Bequest CLXV 5
Pencil on white laid paper, 99 x 159 mm
Stamped in black ‘CLXV 5’ bottom left descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
A view of the Bass Rock probably drawn from Tantallon Castle near North Berwick. As Finberg points out, the sketch is very similar to folio 3 verso (D13326; CLXV 3a),1 although he misidentified the island; this is perhaps a little more finished than the previous version. Turner treats the rock in the same way he would architecture, carefully tracing the outline, and adding details and hatching to indicate its shape. There are numerous sketches of Bass Rock in all of the 1818 Scottish sketchbook, and Turner returned to it in 1822. His watercolour design for the Provincial Antiquities in 1826 was a composite of these many sketches, Bass Rock, circa 1824 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight).2

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

Finberg 1909, I, p.478, CLXV 5.
Wilton 1979, p.426 no.1069.

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘The Bass Rock 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2007, 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-the-bass-rock-r1131871, accessed 25 July 2021.