From a hundred metres or so to the north-east, Turner has made a sketch of the north and east sides of Linlithgow Palace and the north of St Michael’s Church. Ash trees partially screen the view of the two buildings (see folio 47; D13662; CLXVII 45), and there are several tiny figures dotted around them and at the bottom right of the page. Unlike the figure on folio 45 verso (D13660; CLXVII 43a) or the tartan-clad cowherd in Turner’s 1821 watercolour of Linlithgow Palace (Manchester City Galleries),1 these people do not seem to be living or working in the castle grounds, but to be relaxing in the landscape and enjoying the view, just as Turner himself was, and like the figures in his sketch of Calton Hill (folio 42 verso; D13653; CLXVII 40a).
Turner seems to have been struck by the view of Linlithgow Palace and Church from the north-east, sketching it in 1801 (Scotch Lakes sketchbook, Tate D02946–D02947; Turner Bequest LVI 16a–17) and using it for a pencil drawing of Linlithgow Palace (Cows Drinking), circa 1801 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge USA). In this sketchbook there are three views from the north-east on folios 55 verso–56 and 56 verso (D13678–D13679, D13680; CLXVII 52a–53, 53a). Turner’s 1821 watercolour of Linlithgow Palace is from the north-east, although further away from across the loch. Although the view differs slightly to the present drawing, Turner may well have referred to it for details of the architecture.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1068.