Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Edinburgh from the Castle: Looking Down the Royal Mile


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 42

Catalogue entry

This simple but careful and accurate outline drawing shows the view looking east over the city from the Royal Palace or Half Moon Battery of Edinburgh Castle. The sketch is one of several made from the castle in connection to the procession with the Regalia on 22 August 1822 (see folio 36 verso; D17565). There is little sign of the procession apart from the stands either side of the Esplanade. Apart from that Turner concentrates on the topography of the city.
A straight line runs from the inner barrier in the foreground, through the gate, along the Esplanade and down Johnson’s Terrace and Castle Hill towards the Lawnmarket and up the Royal Mile to the Canongate. This was the route the procession took that day from the palace of Holyrood. Rising above the houses are the spires of St Giles’s and the Tron Kirk. To the right are the hills of Salisbury Craigs and Arthur’s Seat, which continue on folio 43 (D17578), Turner having pealed back this page in order to extend the view south on the next folio. To the left beyond Castle Hill are the old North Bridge with Calton Hill and Nelson’s Monument behind it. The sketch also continues at the left on folio 41 verso (D17575) where we look out over the Firth of Forth with the island of Inchkeith and the shore of Fife beyond.

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

Read full Catalogue entry

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