Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Royal Observatory and Nelson’s Monument; and Edinburgh, from the Stewart Monument


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 78 a

Catalogue entry

The sketches on this page were made from the same vantage point on Calton Hill. At the outer edge of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, is a sketch of some of the buildings and monuments on Calton Hill as seen from the west end. At the left is part of the Royal Observatory with the monument to John Playfield at its south-east corner to the right. In the centre of the sketch, a little further back is the unfinished National Monument, and framing the right side of the sketch is the tower of Nelson’s Monument.
The artist turned to the west for his next sketch which is the continuation from folio 79 (D26410) of the view towards Edinburgh with Dugald Stewart’s monument in the foreground. This half of the sketch shows Edinburgh’s New Town with the spire of St Andrew’s Church and the column and statue of the Melville monument. This is the most developed and finished of Turner’s six views of Edinburgh from Calton Hill in this sketchbook; see folio 79 verso (D26411) for further information and references.

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

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