Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh from Mill’s Mount Battery of Edinburgh Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CC 60

Catalogue entry

Although drawn on the occasion of the procession to Edinburgh Castle with the Regalia (see folio 35 verso; D17665), this double page sketch, made with the book inverted, is probably not directly connected to the event. Turner just took the opportunity of having gained access to the ramparts to capture this unique view from Mill’s Mount Battery.
Framing the composition at the left is the turret of Mill’s Mount Battery, where the one o’clock gun is now placed. Over the parapet of the battery – faintly indicated by a horizontal line – is Edinburgh’s New Town to the north-east of the castle. Princes Street is at the left with the dome of the General Register House and, to its right, Regent Bridge joining the street to Calton Hill. At the top of the hill is the City Observatory and Nelson’s Monument with the double cylinder tower of the Governor’s House of Calton Gaol beneath to the right, and the rest of the complex directly below. Connecting the Old and New Towns at the centre right of the page is the Old North Bridge with the Bank of Scotland Building to its right.
In the distance to the right of Nelson’s Monument is the outline of the conical-shaped hill, North Berwick Law, twenty miles away to the north-east. Turner sketched the hill as he passed it in a boat on his journey north to Edinburgh (folio 7 verso; D17521), drawing it again on his return journey south (folios 78 verso, 79 verso, 80, 80 verso; D17645, D17647, D17648, D17649).
The drawing continues on folio 56 verso with a view across the Old Town.

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

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