Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh from Calton Hill


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVII 40

Catalogue entry

Continued from folio 41 verso and continuing on to folio 43 (D13151, D13654; CLXVII 39a, 41) this view formed the basis of Turner’s watercolour design for the Provincial Antiquities of Scotland: Edinburgh from Calton Hill, circa 1819 (National Gallery of Scotland).1 The present page looks south-west towards Edinburgh Castle across the Old Town on the left and the Georgian New Town on the right, which are connected by the old North Bridge, seen at the left of the page continuing onto folio 41 verso. Calton Hill itself can be seen at the bottom of the page with the houses of Waterloo Place in the right foreground and Regent Bridge, built since Turner had last visited the capital in 1801 to connect Calton Hill with Princes Street, in the bottom left (folio 36; D13643; CLXVII 34). Towards the top right of the page are the pointed spire of St Cuthbert’s Church, the square steeple of the Church of St John the Evangelist (Tate D13462; Turner Bequest CLXVI 7a) to its right, and in front of this the dome of the Register House. The New Town continued slightly onto the right of folio 43; Turner must have peeled back the current page in order to extend the drawing to the right on that page. The Old Town is shown to the left on folio 41 verso with the spire of St Giles’s Cathedral (see folio 40 recto; D13649; CLXVII 38) as the most distinctive landmark. The bottom half of that page is dominated by the massive Calton Gaol, of which only the castellated Governor’s House now remains.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

Wilton 1979, p.426 no.1062.

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