Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh, from St Anthony’s Chapel


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 87

Catalogue entry

In this sketch of Edinburgh from St Anthony’s Chapel we see Turner groping towards his final, most developed drawing of the view on folios 89 verso–90 (D26431–D26432). However, while the different elements of the composition are beginning to fall into place, the composition as a whole looks unresolved and awkward, and the sketch is fairly rapid and lacking in detail.
The view is from the slopes of the crags in Holyrood Park just to the south of the ruin of St Anthony’s Chapel which is depicted in the centre of the foreground. The hillside of Salisbury Crags rises to the left. The other objects in view are Edinburgh Castle at the upper left, Calton Hill with Nelson’s Monument and the National Monument in the upper centre, and beneath that Holyrood Palace with what appear to be ploughed fields to the right.
At the top right of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the right, is a sketch of a church tower. David Wallace-Hadrill has suggested that this could be the Tron Kirk in Edinburgh.1 Although the clock-face and steeple match quite well, the section between the two is unlike the Tron Kirk’s tower. Another possibility is the tower of St Andrew’s Church (now called St Andrew’s and St George’s); see folio 88 (D26428).
For further sketches of Edinburgh from around this vantage point, see folio 89 verso.

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill, [CCLXIX Checklist], [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, unpaginated MS, CCLXIX 87.

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