Joseph Mallord William Turner

Nelson’s Monument, Calton Hill

1818

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

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
D13429
Turner Bequest CLXV 59

Catalogue entry

On this page Turner depicts some of the newer building projects on Calton Hill that now form two of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks. Nelson’s Monument was built between 1807 and 1815 to celebrate the hero’s victory at Trafalgar. The architect Robert Burn designed the tower to look like a telescope with its narrowing cylindrical sections, and these are clearly shown in Turner’s drawing, as is the castellated building at the base of the tower designed by Thomas Bonnar. The building to the right, the City Observatory, was commissioned by the Edinburgh Astronomical Institution and built in early 1818 from William Henry Playfair’s design. A faint Edinburgh Castle is seen in the distance.
At the top left of the page is a separate drawing of what looks like the trunk of a tree, though it could be a thumbnail sketch of a landscape drawn with the book turned to the right.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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