Joseph Mallord William TurnerCalton Gaol, from Calton Hill 1818

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Artwork details

Calton Gaol, from Calton Hill
From Bass Rock and Edinburgh Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXV
Date 1818
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 99 x 159 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 61 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 63 Verso:
Calton Gaol, from Calton Hill 1818
Turner Bequest CLXV 61a
Pencil on white laid paper, 99 x 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject of this drawing is the Governor’s House of Calton Gaol built in 1817 on Calton Hill. The building is seen from the hill to the south, looking along a path that leads your eye from the foreground, past North Bridge and the edge of Castle Rock on the left, round to the Governor’s House in the centre of the picture. A figure wearing a skirt and shawl stands in front of the building, perhaps looking up towards it, or out at the city of Edinburgh. In either case it is clear from her position at the edge of the path that she has paused for a moment; a gesture suggesting poignancy. There is another drawing of the gaol on folio 64 verso (D13436; CLXV 62a).

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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