Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Royal Squadron at Anchor in Leith Roads


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 51 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted is a view of shipping at Leith with the royal squadron as seen from a boat on the Firth of Forth to the north. Most prominent in the sketch is a large vessel at the centre sailing towards us, and a similarly sized vessel at anchor to the right, probably one of the larger boats in the squadron.1 Other vessels are indicated by their masts alone, or, at the left, by a bowsprit.
Leith itself is seen behind the boats, its principal buildings such as the Signal Tower represented by a few box shapes that are also seen in the small sketch above. Beyond Leith is the outline of the Pentland Hills and to the left between the boats can be seen Nelson’s Monument on top of Calton Hill.
At the top right of the page is a smaller sketch that continues from folio 52 verso (D17596), that page having been peeled back to continue the drawing to the right. This is another view of Edinburgh and Leith from the water with Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill on folio 52 verso, and Leith on the present page with the two vessels just to the right of Leith in the lower sketch here seen closer to and in more detail.
For a full list of sketches of shipping at Leith, see King’s Visit to Scotland 1822 Sketchbook Introduction.

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

See Robert Mudie, An Historical Account of His Majesty’s Visit to Scotland, Edinburgh 1822, p.82.

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