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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Holyrood and Arthur's Seat 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 56 Verso:
Holyrood and Arthur’s Seat 1818
Turner Bequest CLXV 54a
Pencil on white laid paper, 99 x 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
By contrasting the enormous extinct volcano of Arthur’s Seat with the relatively diminutive Holyrood, Turner explores his favourite and recurring theme of the insignificance of man in the face of overpowering nature. The slight overhang of the hill threatens to collapse and crush the palace beneath, emphasising the Sublime nature of the scene, which is viewed from the east.

Thomas Ardill
November 2007

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Holyrood and Arthur’s Seat 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2007, 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-holyrood-and-arthurs-seat-r1131966, accessed 11 December 2019.