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The inscription on this page probably reads ‘Gifford’, and either refers to the village of Gifford which is about four and a half miles south of Haddington, or to Sir Hugo de Gifford of Yester Castle. Turner had planned to visit the castle,1 and may have done so on the way to or from Haddington. This may be the structure seen at the centre of the upper sketch, presumably with Gifford Water or Hopes Burn in the foreground. Little of the castle remained in Turner’s day, and perhaps less stands today. Although the ruin was not on the artist’s itinerary of views to illustrate for Scott’s Poetical Works, it did have relevance to Sir Walter, who wrote about the castle and Sir Hugo de Gifford – or the ‘Wizard of Yester’ – in his poem Marmion (canto III).
There is another reference to ‘Gifford’ on folio 90 verso of this sketchbook (D26093; CCLXVII 92a), above a sketch that may show the ruins of the castle.
Robert Cadell, ‘Abbotsford Diary’, Thursday 11 August 1831, National Library of Scotland, MS Acc.5188, Box 1, folio 111 verso; transcribed in Gerald E. Finley, ‘J.M.W. Turner and Sir Walter Scott: Iconography of a Tour’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol.31, 1972, p.385.