J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Edinburgh, from the Water of Leith 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 62 Verso:
Edinburgh, from the Water of Leith 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVII 59a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ?‘Brick’ | ‘S’ centre far left; ‘[...]’ lower centre left; ‘Women gathering turnips & [?]carting away’ | [?]‘Blinchy Ground’ centre right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Following his sketch of Edinburgh from near Dean Cemetery (folio 62, D13690; CLXVII 59), Turner continued east along the Water of Leith, making this double-page sketch in the northern suburbs of the city. The present page shows the eastern half of the city from Calton Hill almost up to the castle. Part of Arthur’s Seat is depicted at the extreme left of the page, with Calton Hill to its right, upon which stands the tower of Nelson’s Monument, and next to it, the City Observatory. To the right of the hill is the Old Town with its rows of Georgian houses. In the foreground is a field, apparently called ‘Blinchy Ground’, where an inscription tells us ‘women [are] gathering [?]turnips & [?]carting [them] away’. Two further indecipherable inscriptions at the left may describe a wall made of [?]’Brick’ and ‘S[tone]’ and the flora behind it. The Water of Leith itself is visible on folio 63 (D13692; CLXVII 60), where Edinburgh Castle and St George’s Church can also be seen.

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Edinburgh, from the Water of Leith 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2008, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-edinburgh-from-the-water-of-leith-r1132238, accessed 15 September 2019.