In 1818 Turner was commissioned to illustrate Sir Walter Scott's Provincial Antiquities of Scotland. Engravings of Turner's watercolours were to accompany Scott's historical descriptions of Scottish sites. Turner had already visited many
of the locations in 1801. However in
1818 he made another visit to gather material for this project.
The castle dates from around 1430. It lies alongside the River Gore in the countryside south-east of Edinburgh. Scott celebrated Borthwick Castle as 'one of the most beautiful and entire specimens of
castle-architecture in Scotland'.