Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh, from the Water of Leith


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 60 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch belongs to a series of several views of Edinburgh from the north. Here Turner stands on a high bank or bridge above the Water of Leith. The emphasis in this sketch is on the foreground rather than the city beyond, which is indicated in outlines and silhouettes with, from left to right, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, the crown spire of St Giles’s Cathedral, the spire of St Andrew’s (now St Andrew’s and St George’s), Edinburgh Castle and the dome of St George’s (now the West Register House). Drawing the eye from the foreground through and around the picture and into the distance is the serpentine river, skirted by trees and with fields on either side. Various inscriptions along the river bank refer to a ‘hollow’, and a ‘hill’, to the ‘willow’ tree and a ‘wall’ at the far side of the water, behind which ‘ploughs’ are at work in the field. There is another, presumably ‘B[rick]’, wall in the foreground at the far left.
The sketch continues very slightly at the right onto folio 64 (D13694; CLXVII 61), and folio 66 verso (D13699; CLXVII 63a) contains a similar sketch of the river and city, though this time from near Murrayfield.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

Read full Catalogue entry

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