Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Procession to Edinburgh Castle with the Regalia Seen from the Half Moon Battery


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 38 a

Catalogue entry

Turner made views from both the Royal Palace (see folio 36 verso; D17565) and the Half Moon Battery of Edinburgh Castle in connection to the procession to the castle with the Regalia on 22 August 1822. For this sketch, made with the book inverted, Turner stood on the ramparts of the battery with a flag-pole in the foreground (see folio 42 verso; D17577) and looked east over the city towards Calton Hill.
The open-crown spire of St Giles’s Cathedral is shown at the far right, and to the left of Nelson’s Monument is the Regent Bridge with the dome of the General Register House to its left. The two spires to the left are St James’s (no longer extant) and St Andrew’s (now St Andrew’s and St George’s). Turner has indicated the ‘Mound’, the artificial hill connecting Edinburgh’s Old and New Town which formed part of the route of the King’s return journey to Holyrood and thence onto Dalkeith. To its right ‘E[east] Lothian’ troops, indicated by a series of short vertical dashes, are shown lining part of the route (see folio 36 verso for details of more troops present at the procession). At the right of the battery Turner has indicated a ‘Scarlet Platform’. This was erected so that the king could wave to the assembled crowds from the castle.
Although Turner did not get to make a sketch of this happening, he eventually came to regard it as the main spectacle of the ceremony, depicting this moment for the frontispiece of the first volume of the Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland (Tate D13748; Turner Bequest CLXVIII A), probably based on James Skene’s watercolour, King George IV at Edinburgh Castle, circa 1822 (Edinburgh City Libraries).

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

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