Joseph Farington, R.A. (1747-1821)
Dumbarton Rock from the South
Inscribed lower centre: South View of Dumbarton Castle Oct.br 11th 1788
Pen and grey ink and watercolour with original washline mount
38.3 by 68.3cm., 15 by 26 ¾ in.
With Spink Leger, London, circa 1995;
Private Collection until 2011
This is one of a group of views taken at or near Dumbarton on Farington's Scottish tour in the autumn of 1788. He was there for over three months due to a project to publish a book of engravings of Scottish scenes. Two views of Dumbarton Castle are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries and a large watercolour `Towards Dumbarton' dated 7th October 1788 is in the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (see Joseph Farington - Watercolours and Drawings, Exhibition Catalogue, 1977, nos. 37-39, pp. 48-49).
South of the town of Dumbarton stands the high twin-peaked volcanic plug of Dumbarton Rock, with the River Clyde on one side and the River Leven on the other. Early Britons had a fortress here before the Romans, and it was home to a military base as recently as World War II. Dumbarton Castle is made up of several garrison buildings including the Governor's House built in 1735 which can clearly be seen, along with several gun batteries built to defend the access of the Clyde. Of the various buildings also erected at the time in the cleft between the peaks, only the "French Prison" remains.
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