Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh Castle from Craig Lockhart


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 44 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s inscription tells us that this sketch was made from ‘Craig Lockert’ (or Craiglockhart), about two and a half miles from the centre of Edinburgh. It shows the castle with Arthur’s Seat on the extreme right; the only parts of Edinburgh that could be seen from this distance. Craiglockhart forms a relatively sparse landscape setting for the distant castle, and the strong easterly wind bends the two trees in the middle distance, whose rugged appearance emphasise the wilder side of the Scottish Lothians. Strong winds features in Turner’s coastal subjects for Scott’s Provincial Antiquities: Bass Rock, circa 1823 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight), Dunbar, circa 1823 (private collection); and Tantallon Castle, 1821 (Manchester City Art Galleries) and especially Borthwick Castle, 1818 (watercolour, Indianapolis Museum of Art),1 where a westerly wind similarly bends the trees to the left. Turner made several sketches of Edinburgh Castle from the outskirts to the south and south-west in this sketchbook (folios 42 verso, 43, 45 verso and 46; D13396, D13397, D13402, D13403; CLXV 42a, 43, 45a, 46), and in the Edinburgh, 1818 sketchbook (Tate D13570; Turner Bequest CLXVI 62a).

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 nos.1069, 1066, 1067, p.425 no.1060; see Eric Shanes, Turner’s Human Landscape, London, 1990, p.11.

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