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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Coast of Argyll Around Dunollie Castle from the Firth of Lorn 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 56 Verso:
The Coast of Argyll Around Dunollie Castle from the Firth of Lorn 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 56a
Pencil on white wove paper, 186 x 116 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘Cruachan Ben’ top right, ‘B [...]’ centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketches on this page were made from the Firth of Lorn, probably during Turner’s return to Oban after having visiting the islands of Skye, Staffa and Mull. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified many of them, though their identification is revised here.1
Dunollie Castle is likely to be the subject of the top two sketches, although Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan have suggested Tioram Castle as an alternative identification. The twin peaks above the castle in the top sketch, however, resemble Ben Cruachan (or ‘Cruachan Ben’ as Turner seems to have labelled it), although somewhat exaggerated in size, making Dunollie a more likely subject. There are also further sketches of Dunollie on the opposite page of the sketchbook (folio 57; D26852). For further sketches of Dunollie see folio 95 (D26928; CCLXXIII 95).
The third sketch down is inscribed with what Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan have taken to be ‘Mor’, and therefore stands for the coast of Morvern with Loch Sunart in the foreground, presumably seen from the Sound of Mull to the west. Another possibility, however, is that this is another view east from the Firth of Lorn. At the right of the sketch are two connected peaks that could be Ben Cruachan once more.
The fourth sketch down was not identified by Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan, but may be of Maiden Island, which lies off the coast of Argyll near Dunollie to the north of Kerrera.
The bottom sketch was identified as either the Sound of Mull or Loch Linnhe. The latter is most consistent with the other views on the page. It may show the view due north up the Firth of Lorne to Loch Linnhe, with the mountains of Morvern on this page, and, continuing on folio 57 (D26852), the mountains of Appin.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on Mull and Staffa’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 16, 21].

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘The Coast of Argyll Around Dunollie Castle from the Firth of Lorn 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 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-the-coast-of-argyll-around-dunollie-castle-from-the-firth-of-r1135208, accessed 21 January 2022.