Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Andrew’s Church, Edinburgh; and East Lothian Coastlines


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 159 x 99 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 61

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook in its usual landscape orientation Turner has made three sketches of coastlines, while with the book turned to the right (portrait) he has drawn the ornate spire of a church. Despite his inscription, this is not Edinburgh’s famous ‘Tron Kirk’, but the church of St Andrew’s (now St Andrew’s and St George’s) on George Street. Turner shows an interest in the spires of Edinburgh in several sketches (for example folio 62; D13431; CLXV 60), and may have drawn this one close to for reference as a particularly fine and intricate example. This would explain why he has not recorded the appearance of the rest of the church anywhere in the 1818 Scottish sketchbooks.
The three sketches of coastlines, though none are particularly distinctive, are likely to show the East Lothian coast around Dunbar and North Berwick, as this is the area that Turner sketched earlier in this sketchbook. The top sketch, for example, may show the coast of North Berwick with the island of Craigleith on the far right, as could the middle sketch with its conical-shaped hill that could be North Berwick Law (as in folio 6 verso; D13332; CLXV 6a). The bottom sketch, seems to show headlands, such as the rocks jutting out to sea near Tantallon (see folio 35; D13383; CLXV 35) or around Dunbar (see folio 34; D13381; CLXV 34). Folio 11 (D13341; CLXV 11) similarly contains studies of coastlines made across the page.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

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