Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh Castle from the Slopes of Arthur’s Seat


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 84

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted across this page and folio 83 verso (D26419) is a view towards Edinburgh from the northern slopes of Arthur’s Seat. It is one of a sequence of similar views of the city drawn on 1 October in preparation for an illustration to Sir Water Scott’s Prose Works: see folio 89 verso (D26431).
Salisbury Crags appear in the foreground of the present page with the Firth of Forth and the distant Fife shore in the background. The Water of Leith is also depicted flowing towards Leith and the River Forth at the left of this sketch. Other than these geographical features, there are no landmarks in this rather diagrammatic sketch, though Edinburgh Castle can be made out on folio 83 verso. Turner made a number of rather rough sketches as he climbed the crags in Holyrood Park (e.g. folios 84 verso, 85 verso and 86; D26421, D26423, D26424), looking for a suitable composition (see folio 89 verso).

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

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