Linlithgow Palace stands on the south shore of Linlithgow Loch, to the west of Edinburgh. It had been both a Scottish royal residence and a military stronghold, but was destroyed by fire in 1746. Turner visited the site during his 1801 trip to Scotland, making sketches on the spot which he later used for this painting. He has sacrificed topographical accuracy for an ordered composition framed by trees and with women bathing in the foreground. These devices are characteristic of the tradition of classical landscape painting which he sought to emulate in this painting.