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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Sketches of the Isle of Staffa 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 9 Recto:
Two Sketches of the Isle of Staffa 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 9
Pencil on white wove paper, 186 x 116 mm
Inscribed in blue ink by John Ruskin ‘9’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXIII 9’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested that the two sketches of rocks and cliffs on this page and folio 8 verso (D26760) may be of the Isle of Staffa.1 The clue is in the columnar rocks in the bottom sketch, which resemble the basalt columns that the island is famous for (see folio 40; D26817 for full references). The bottom sketch seems to show a crevice or opening in the rock which suggests the entrance to a cave, most likely Fingal’s Cave which was the main object of interest to Turner on this trip (see folio 29; D26797), though it could be the Clamshell Cave as in folio 30 (D26799). The top sketch suggests a view from near the Clamshell Cave, perhaps with the triangular rock Am Buachaille (the Herdsman's Rock).
At the top right of the page is the continuation of a sketch of Fort William from folio 8 verso.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, 'Turner on Mull and Staffa, 1831', [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folio 18].

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Two Sketches of the Isle of Staffa 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 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-two-sketches-of-the-isle-of-staffa-r1135119, accessed 26 January 2022.