Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill; and a Church


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 x 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 82

Catalogue entry

Drawn very faintly across the centre of the page is a sketch of Edinburgh Castle with Calton Hill to the right. The distinctive shape of the castle on its rock is unmistakable, and Calton Hill is recognisable by the presence of Nelson’s Monument. The view is from the west, and Turner is likely to have made the sketch on 1 October, when he drew the city from St Anthony’s Chapel in the Stirling and Edinburgh sketchbook (Tate D26431; Turner Bequest CCLXIX 89a). Calton Hill is repeated in a separate sketch at the top of the page.
At the top left of the page is a sketch of a church with a tower that has spiked pinnacles on its four corners. This building has not been firmly identified. If it was sketched in Edinburgh then it may be St John’s on Princes Street. However, it does not bear a striking resemblance. Another possibility is the church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (now Southwark Cathedral), which is depicted on folio 63 (D26217) of this sketchbook.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

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