Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Argyll Battery from Mill’s Mount Battery of Edinburgh Castle

1822

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
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
D17612
Turner Bequest CC 60 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted, this view from the west end of the Argyll Battery of Edinburgh Castle shows part of the northern end of the castle and the view north-east towards North Bridge. The turret, or Argyll Tower as Gerald Finley calls it,1 at the eastern end of the battery (see folio 59 verso; D17610) is seen at the centre of the page, with various castle buildings to the right, including what may be St Margaret’s Chapel and to its right the reservoir tanks.
About half a dozen figures, probably soldiers, appear to lounge around, perhaps waiting to take up position when the King’s procession arrives (see folio 36 verso; D17656). The view of Edinburgh is sketched rather slightly, but the objects were by now familiar enough to Turner for him to be able to drawn them as shortcut outlines. In the bottom-left corner several lines mark out Prince’s Street Gardens which was being built at this time on the site of the drained Nor Loch. Above this are the arches of the old North Bridge, with Calton Hill behind it. Just to the right of the turret is the spire of St Giles’s Cathedral and to the right of this the outline of Arthur’s Seat. The horizon line is created by the Firth of Forth which is continued slightly on folio 61 (D17613) where a slight bump represents North Berwick Law in the distance (see folio 60; D17611).

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

1
Finley 1981, p.85

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