Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh Castle from the North-West


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 64 a

Catalogue entry

This view of Edinburgh Castle from the north-west demonstrates both the vast scale of the castle and the rock upon which it stands. The rock itself takes up about three quarters of the page with the curtain wall forming a belt around it halfway up and the many buildings that make up the castle clustered on the top; they are pushed so high up the page that Turner has had to extend the drawing slightly to the page above (folio 67; D13441; CLXV 65). With its sheer rock face and turreted walls, the castle appears impenetrable. As in folio 65 verso (D13438; CLXV 63a), Turner exhibits a rare example, for this sketchbook, of shading on the Castle Rock in order to indicate its shape and rugged appearance.
Turner’s inscription ‘NW’ presumably refers to the north-west view of the castle that he has depicted, and the inscription on the page above this one (folio 67) where this sketch continues, ‘church’, may refer to St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building still standing in the castle.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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