J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner 'The Effect of Twylight near Edinburgh' 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 58 Verso:
‘The Effect of Twylight near Edinburgh’ 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVI 58a
Pencil on white wove paper, 90 x 112 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner across the page
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Without any colour or tone, Turner represents ‘the effect of twylight near Edinburgh’ in this double-page sketch through line and notes on colour (continued on folio 59; D13563), which are described below.
‘Blue’ top centre, ‘clouds’ top, ‘n grey | Brown’ to the left of the crescent moon, ‘Red’ to the right of the moon, ‘grey’ beneath the moon, ‘B[...] House’ bottom centre
In the dim light of the crescent moon (top right) the forms of the hillside and foliage in the foreground are reduced to blurred and broken outlines. The ‘cloudy’ sky is lit up ‘Red’ and ‘Brown’ around the moon, turning to ‘grey’ and then ‘Blue’ on the left and ‘Brown’ and ‘yellow’ on the right (folio 59) where the sun is setting.
The descriptions indicate a dramatic scene that Turner probably chose to depict for its aesthetic rather than topographical interest. From the position of the moon and light of the setting sun we can tell that this view is looking west upstream along the Firth of Forth from the south bank. Turner made similar notes on weather effects and the colour of the sky in other several other sketches on this Scottish tour in 1818 (see Tour of Scotland 1818 Tour Introduction), including five thumbnail sketches of skies on folio 6 of this sketchbook (D13459) and five more on folio 23 verso (Tate D13494).

Thomas Ardill
January 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘‘The Effect of Twylight near Edinburgh’ 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2008, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-effect-of-twylight-near-edinburgh-r1132107, accessed 25 May 2018.