Joseph Mallord William Turner

Calton Gaol, Edinburgh


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 99 × 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 62 a

Catalogue entry

This view of Calton Gaol (see folio 63 verso; D13434; CLXV 61a), taken from Calton Hill, looks east towards Edinburgh Castle with North Bridge beneath it. A similar viewpoint, though further away to the west, is shown on folio 61 verso (D13430; CLXV 59a), and included the whole of the gaol, the castle and North Bridge, as well as a wider panorama of the city. The sketch here is more rapidly executed and less finished, using mainly outlines for the city, and including just a few architectural details of the gaol. The placement of this building to the left, however, creates a strong composition by framing the city beyond and acting as a repoussoir to draw the viewers’ eye into the scene. This sketch was probably made to experiment with this composition. The drawing continues slightly onto the page above (folio 65; D13437; CLXV 63) with the top of the building at the right.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

Read full Catalogue entry

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