This is a sketch of the south entrance to Linlithgow Palace with part of the Church of St Michael on the right. The entrance is proceeded by a gate house, above which are four panels representing, from left to right, the orders of the Garter (England), the Thistle (Scotland), the Golden Fleece (Burgundy), and St Michael (France).
Linlithgow Church and Entrance to the Palace was one of the subjects illustrated for the Provincial Antiquities, along with the Court of Linlithgow (see folio 57; D13681; CLXVII 54), and a view of the palace (see folios 55 verso–56; D13678–D13679; CLXVII 52a–53), so Turner probably sketched the view in case he was asked to make the illustrations. In the event, however, Edward Blore was commissioned to design and engrave the subject for the eighth number of the publication, while Turner made a view of the palace and church from across Linlithgow Loch to the north-east: Linlithgow Palace, watercolour, 1821 (Manchester City Galleries),1 which was engraved by Robert Wallis for the sixth number. This was the second time Turner had drawn the south entrance, having made a sketch in the Scotch Lakes sketchbook in 1801 (Tate D02949; Turner Bequest LVI 18a).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1068.