Joseph Mallord William Turner

Linlithgow Palace and St Michael’s Church

1818

Not on display
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 x 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13667
Turner Bequest CLXVII 47

Catalogue entry

From a hundred metres or so to the north-east, Turner has made a sketch of the north and east sides of Linlithgow Palace and the north of St Michael’s Church. Ash trees partially screen the view of the two buildings (see folio 47; D13662; CLXVII 45), and there are several tiny figures dotted around them and at the bottom right of the page. Unlike the figure on folio 45 verso (D13660; CLXVII 43a) or the tartan-clad cowherd in Turner’s 1821 watercolour of Linlithgow Palace (Manchester City Galleries),1 these people do not seem to be living or working in the castle grounds, but to be relaxing in the landscape and enjoying the view, just as Turner himself was, and like the figures in his sketch of Calton Hill (folio 42 verso; D13653; CLXVII 40a).
Turner seems to have been struck by the view of Linlithgow Palace and Church from the north-east, sketching it in 1801 (Scotch Lakes sketchbook, Tate D02946–D02947; Turner Bequest LVI 16a–17) and using it for a pencil drawing of Linlithgow Palace (Cows Drinking), circa 1801 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge USA). In this sketchbook there are three views from the north-east on folios 55 verso–56 and 56 verso (D13678–D13679, D13680; CLXVII 52a–53, 53a). Turner’s 1821 watercolour of Linlithgow Palace is from the north-east, although further away from across the loch. Although the view differs slightly to the present drawing, Turner may well have referred to it for details of the architecture.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1068.

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