Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of the View North from Leith Walk with Triumphal Arch; Caroline Park, Granton; and Continuation of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

1822

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: 114 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17573
Turner Bequest CC 40 a

Catalogue entry

There are three unconnected drawings on this page, all made with the sketchbook in different orientations. With the page turned to the right is a view of Leith Walk, in its usual orientation is a sketch of the gates to Caroline Park in Granton, and inverted is the continuation of a view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat.
The view of Leith Walk is connected to a detailed drawing of the same road from the opposite direction across folios 39 verso–40 (D17571–D17572). Having drawn the view south down Leith Walk from around Picardy Place, Turner walked a few yards down the road past the Triumphal Arch and ceremonial gateway to sketch these from the other side. This view therefore looks south from Elm Row back up Leith Walk with Nelson’s monument on Calton Hill towering above the houses. At the right is the Triumphal Arch itself. An inscription at the bottom of the sketch, ‘welcome welcome our king’, was probably copied from one of the many banners or illuminations that lined the route of the King’s procession into the city.
Above the drawings at the bottom right of the page is a small sketch of a row of houses. These may be the buildings on the east side of Leith Walk to the left where Turner stood to make the sketch below. The building at the far left of the larger drawing features at the right of the small sketch.
‘Caroline Park’, known until the early eighteenth century as Royston House, and the nearby Granton Castle (see folio 59; D17609) both seem to have caught Turner’s interest when he was walking and sailing around Leith and Granton in order to make drawings of the royal squadron and George IV’s landing. The gates to the estate are identifiable not only by the inscription, but through comparison with two photographs by Hugh Lyon Tennent collected in volume 2 of the Edinburgh Calotype Club Album. An engraving by ‘DS’ of 1851 also shows the gates.1 Although the right gatepost appears less ornate in Turner’s drawing it is in fact identical to the left. The Firth of Forth is shown at the right.

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

1
Reproduced, ‘The History of Wardie, Trinity and Granton’, Leith History, accessed 17 September 2008, http://www.leithhistory.co.uk/2004/05/31/the-history-of-wardie-trinity-and-granton-contd/.

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