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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Town on Coast, ?Fort William 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Town on Coast, ?Fort William 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 186 x 116 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘1’ and ‘2’ on the sketch bottom left, ‘3’ and ‘2’ centre
Inscribed in blue ink by John Ruskin ‘14’ bottom right descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXIII 14’ bottom left descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This ‘town on [the] coast’ as Finberg called it,1 is likely to be Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. A sketch opposite in the book (folio 13 verso; D26769) has been identified as a view of the town from the north-east, making this likely to be a view from the north, probably from around Inverlochy. We look towards the pier with Cow Hill at the left and Loch Linnhe at the right. At the bottom left of the sketch is an archway which may be a bridge in the foreground, or perhaps a separate detail. Something that suggests that it may be the latter are the numbers inscribed on the arch (‘1’ and ‘2’) and on the pier (‘3’ and ‘2’). These may suggest that this is a close-up detail of an object from around the pier. It could perhaps be the arched entrance to the old fort which can also be seen in a sketch on folios 8 verso–9 (D26760–D26761).
For further sketches of Fort William see folio 8 verso.
Finberg 1909, II, p.875.

Thomas Ardill
April 2010

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Town on Coast, ?Fort William 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 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-town-on-coast-fort-william-r1135128, accessed 26 January 2022.