Joseph Mallord William Turner

The King’s Landing at Leith


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CC 71 a

Catalogue entry

Gerald Finley associates this sketch, made with the sketchbook inverted, with ‘The King’s Landing at Leith’.1 Although the flotilla of barges, shown on the opposite page (D17633) is not present, the image shows the point at which George IV alighted. The view is similar to the sketches on folios 58 verso and 66 verso (D17698, D17622) which show the arrival of the royal barge. Comparison with these two sketches explains the rather slightly sketched details. At the left is the Signal House and beneath this, along the quayside, are rows of figures ready to cheer the King’s arrival. There are more figures at the right standing on the yardarms of ships at anchor beyond a drawbridge to the south. Turner made one more drawing of the subject, with the King having just arrived on the landing stage, on a loose sheet of paper (Tate D17667; Turner Bequest CCIII J).

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

Finley 1981, p.85.

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