Joseph Mallord William Turner

Calton Gaol, Edinburgh

1818

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 99 x 159 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13436
Turner Bequest CLXV 62 a

Catalogue entry

This view of Calton Gaol (see folio 63 verso; D13434; CLXV 61a), taken from Calton Hill, looks east towards Edinburgh Castle with North Bridge beneath it. A similar viewpoint, though further away to the west, is shown on folio 61 verso (D13430; CLXV 59a), and included the whole of the gaol, the castle and North Bridge, as well as a wider panorama of the city. The sketch here is more rapidly executed and less finished, using mainly outlines for the city, and including just a few architectural details of the gaol. The placement of this building to the left, however, creates a strong composition by framing the city beyond and acting as a repoussoir to draw the viewers’ eye into the scene. This sketch was probably made to experiment with this composition. The drawing continues slightly onto the page above (folio 65; D13437; CLXV 63) with the top of the building at the right.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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