In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13673
Turner Bequest CLXVII 50

Catalogue entry

Turner made a series of sketches of Linlithgow Palace from the west of Linlithgow Loch (see folios 44 verso; D13658; CLXVII 42a for references). This sketch is very similar to the one on the previous sketchbook page, though it faces a little more to the north so that the palace and St Michael’s Church are pushed to the left of the page where they and the rest of the composition are framed by a foreground tree.
The placement of a tree at one side of the foreground is a device used by Turner to frame his composition and make his landscape resemble the classical Italianate paintings of Richard Wilson and Claude Lorraine. Although it shows the view from the very opposite side of the palace (the north-east), Turner’s 1821 watercolour of Linlithgow Palace (Manchester City Galleries)1 adopts this compositional device (see the middle sketch on folio 56 verso; D13680; CLXVII 53a). To the right of the tree is the old Town House. At the bottom left of the page is what looks like a bridge and maybe the crossing over the Avon known as Linlithgow Bridge after which a battle of 1526 was named, as well as the west side of town.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1068.

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