Joseph Mallord William Turner

Guards at the Provost’s Banquet, Edinburgh


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 x 74 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 442

Catalogue entry

The sketches on this small piece of card are likely to have been made at the Provost’s Banquet given for King George IV on 24 August 1822. There are further sketches of this occasion on cards of the same dimensions and type, one of which also depicts guards (Tate D34940; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV d 440). The sketch at the bottom left of the card, executed with the card turned to the right, depicts a crowd of guards standing next to a railing, which in D34940 can be seen to be the railing around the statue of Viscount Melville by Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey. Beneath this with the book turned to the right is a quick study of a guardsman.
Drawn across the top half of this page is a view from behind of a guard with a spear (or halberd) and further guards beyond him. To the left of the figure is a piece of architecture which is likely to be the plinth of the Melville statue. This may therefore be the same figure that is seen from the side on D34940. There are sketches of guards, pages and attendants on Tate D34946 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV d 446).
For more information about Turner’s 1822 trip to Edinburgh to witness the Royal Visit see George IV’s Visit to Edinburgh 1822 Tour Introduction.
Inscribed in red ink by John Ruskin ‘CCCXLIV <428> <440> bottom right
Inscribed in pencil by ?A.J. Finberg ‘442’ bottom right
Although the Turner Bequest group number of this work (CCCXLIV) has remained the same, the sheet number has changed twice. John Ruskin was the first to cross out his original red ink number (482) and replace it with a new one (440), before a subsequent cataloguer, probably A.J. Finberg, crossed that out and replaced it with a new number in pencil (442).

Thomas Ardill
February 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

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