Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Castle, Edinburgh, from the Golf Ground


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 99 × 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 48 a

Catalogue entry

Turner took this view of Edinburgh Castle from the ‘Golf Ground’ to the south of the city. In this view the Esplanade (parade ground), can be clearly seen on the right of the castle, as can the large square-shaped New Barracks building, left of centre, and, at the highest point of the rock, the Great Hall.
Turner’s inscriptions refer to the ‘Golf Ground’, which stretches out in the foreground of the picture, and to the clothes that the golfers were wearing: ‘Black Hat | Red Jacket with Blue Cuffs...’. Martin A. Bryden, the club historian at Murrayfield golf club, has identified the golf course as Bruntsfield Links,1 which had been used by the Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society since 1761,2 and Neil Laird, another golf historian, has been able to identify the buildings in the foreground as, on the left, a side view of the Golf Hotel and, to the right, the Golf Tavern on Wright’s Houses. A painting of a similar view (though slightly to the left of this one) by J. Ewbank now hangs in the Bruntsfield Links clubhouse,3 and Paul Sandby had painted the same view with a Horse Fair on Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh in 1750 (watercolour, National Gallery of Scotland).

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

Email from Martin A. Bryden to the author, 16 August 2007.
‘Bruntsfield Links Golf Club’, Scottish Golf Courses, 2007, accessed 6 November 2007,
Email from Neil Laird to the author, 17 August 2007.

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