Joseph Mallord William Turner

North Bridge, Edinburgh

1818

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 x 90 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13567
Turner Bequest CLXVI 61

Catalogue entry

Finberg identified the main sketch in this page as the North Bridge in Edinburgh.1 The appearance of the bridge has changed considerably owing to its reconstruction in 1877, but this sketch is recognisable as the original structure through comparisons with contemporary engravings such as the one by J and H.S. Storer published in Views in Edinburgh and its Vicinity, Volume 2 in 1818. As a shortcut Turner has only drawn one arch of the bridge but noted ‘3 arches all alike’. The North Bridge connects Princes Street in the north with the Royal Mile to the south. The buildings on this page to the right of the bridge are a separate sketch, but are probably nearby.
The long inscription on this page provides an insight into Turner’s working process on this tour of Scotland, demonstrating the artist taking stock of his work in Edinburgh so far, and listing a number of subjects still to draw: ‘The Castle to do from the High St[reet]. The new C[?hurch]’, the ‘Castle [from the] E[east] and W[est]’, the ‘Tron’ Kirk and something that Finberg reads as ‘Herricks’,2 but could be ‘Horricks’ or perhaps even ‘Heriot’s [Hospital]’, which Turner did sketch during this tour.

Thomas Ardill
January 2008

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.483, CLXVI 61.
2
Ibid.

Read full Catalogue entry

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