Joseph Mallord William Turner

Edinburgh, from Village of Dean


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 87

Catalogue entry

Over this and the opposite sketchbook page (folio 71; D13738; CLXVII 83) are views east from the village of Dean to Edinburgh. Looking up the bank of the Water of Leith from the village is, in the centre of the page, the dome of St George’s Church. Behind it to the left is the tower of Nelson’s Monument on Calton Hill at the east of the city, and at the right of the page are the churches of St John the Evangelist and St Cuthbert. The very edge of Edinburgh Castle can just be seen in the top-right corner of the page. The village itself consisted then of a cluster of houses around the water of Leith with more houses scattered around the hillside. It is now a suburb of Edinburgh, but has retained its village feel to some extent. Opposite this page is another view of Edinburgh from Dean, with Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat and St George’s Church.
The present page has ‘87’ clearly inscribed in red ink in its bottom right corner, a folio number inscribed by John Ruskin, usually on the recto of a page as in the current folio 71 (stamped ‘CLXVII 83’ according to Finberg’s sequence which followed Ruskin’s number ‘83’). It therefore appears that this page, once detached from the book (see folio 70; D13747; CLXVII 87) was thought to be bound the other way round in the sketchbook (i.e. as a verso). Indeed, Finberg identifies a picture of St George’s Church as his 87 Recto. It seems that Ruskin may have detached this page from the centre of the sketchbook and then written his page number on the wrong side.1 Since Finberg’s inventory was published in 1909 it has been rebound correctly.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

Finberg 1909, I, p.487.

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