Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh, from Braid Hill


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 46

Catalogue entry

This second view of Edinburgh from Braid Hill (see folio 45 verso; D13402; CLXV 45a) is taken from higher up the hill looking over Blackford Hill down the Borough Moor (now suburbs of Edinburgh) towards Edinburgh Castle in the centre and Arthur’s Seat on the right. The same few buildings surrounded by trees that are seen in folio 45 verso can be seen here, though in the centre rather than to the left. This view was illustrated for Scott’s Provisional Antiquities by A.W. Calcott (see 45 verso), and Turner may also have drawn the view with an eye to work it up for engraving.
In his description, Scott wrote about the changes to the landscape over the previous thirty years:
This wild scene [...] now exhibits a wonderful proof of the force of Scottish agriculture – every part of Blackford hill, excepting the naked crags themselves, being now subjected to the plough, and bearing excellent crops.1
Turner clearly shows the boundaries of the fields with farm cottages scattered across the landscape. The Castle and Arthur’s Seat are mere outlines as he had sketched these before in more detail so there was no need to do so again. There is a more detailed sketch of Arthur’s Seat on the verso of this page (folio 46 verso; D13404; CLXV 46a). (See Tate D13570; Turner Bequest CLXVI 62a for another view of Edinburgh from Braid Hill.)

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

Walter Scott, Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland with Descriptive Illustrations by Sir Walter Scott, Bart , Vol.II, London and Edinburgh, 1826, p.108.

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