Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh Castle from Johnston Terrace


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 76

Catalogue entry

Turner went to see Edinburgh Castle on 1 October in the company of the publisher Robert Cadell from whom he was preparing sketches as the basis for illustrations to works by and about Sir Walter Scott. Cadell noted in his diary of that day: ‘at 11 Turner called [...]– ½ p[ast] 1 Turner and I left [...] to see Heriot’s Hospital then at High St to Castle Hill – from thence down by Grassmarket’.1 This sketch must have been made as the artist and publisher made their way between the High Street and the Grassmarket as it depicts a view from half-way along Johnston Terrace where a steep set of steps (Castle Wynd North) descend from the High Street.
We look west up to the castle with the Esplanade at the right below the curved Half Moon Battery. Turner has noted the canons sticking out from the embrasures with the note ‘guns’. A separate sketch at the top right of the page is a study of one of the turrets along the wall of the Esplanade.
Turner’s other sketches of the castle made during this outing were executed in the Edinburgh sketchbook: Tate D26218 (Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 63a).

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

Robert Cadell, Diary 1834, Wednesday 1 October 1834, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh MS 21024, folio 42.

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