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 8 Recto:
The Bass Rock 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVII 8
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed in blue ink ‘8’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXVII 8’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Standing beneath cliffs to the south of the island we look towards the Bass Rock. While the Bass is drawn with just a simple outline (the distinctive shape is similarly sketched on the inside front cover of this sketchbook; D40915), more attention is paid to the shape and character of the craggy cliffs and to the building at the top. This may be Seacliff House rather than Tantallon Castle; a mid eighteenth-century building near the cliffs to the south-east of the castle which Turner drew twice more in this sketchbook (folios 6 verso–7 and 9 verso–10; D13595–D13596 and D13600–D13601; CLXVII 6a, 7, 8c, 9). At the edge of the cliffs may be a small figure, emphasising the height of the cliffs and the distance to the island.

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘The Bass Rock 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-the-bass-rock-r1132145, accessed 21 May 2022.