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.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1068.
- Lothian, West(70)