Joseph Mallord William Turner

Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 59 × 96 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25757
Turner Bequest CCLXV 63 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch is inscribed ‘Blackford Hill’, a hill to the south of Edinburgh which offers fantastic views of the city. Turner visited Blackford Hill on 15 August 1831 with Robert Cadell, Sir Walter Scott’s publisher, who had commissioned him to paint the view for Scott’s Poetical Works.1 This sketch appears to show the slope of the hills itself, perhaps with the outline of Edinburgh Castle in the distance to the left. Turner made a highly detailed panoramic sketch of the view towards Edinburgh in the Abbotsford sketchbook, on which his watercolour, Edinburgh from Blackford Hill circa 1832 (whereabouts unknown),2 was closely based (Tate D25939; Turner Bequest CCLXVII 7a).
At the right of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, is an unidentified building, probably in Edinburgh, and perhaps seen from the hill.

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

1
General Finley, Landscapes of Memory: Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, p.137.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.428 no.1082.

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