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.


  • Title: Linlithgow Palace
  • Creator: Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Creator Lifespan: 1775/1851
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Chelsea, London, England
  • Creator Birth Place: London, England
  • Date Created: About 1806
  • tag / style: Joseph Mallord William Turner; Linlithgow Palace; palace; castle; landscape; classical; bathing; Scotland; trees; royal; James V; Mary Queen of Scots; ruins; Picturesque
  • Subject matter: Linlithgow Palace
  • Physical Dimensions: w1220 x h914 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: Born in London, the son of a Covent Garden barber, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a youthful prodigy. He was making drawings of professional quality by the age of 12. He was just 15 when he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in the spring of 1790. Turner came to be considered the greatest landscapist that Britain has produced. Too progressive for many tastes during his own lifetime, he exerted considerable influence upon artists later in the 19th century. Among them were the American painters of the Hudson River school. They responded powerfully to Turner's elemental handling of extremes of nature. The French Impressionists emulated his ability to use paint to describe fleeting, evanescent effects of nature. Later, the European Symbolists admired the poetic, visionary quality of his landscapes and the way he infused them with a range of metaphysical meanings.
  • Additional artwork information: The Kings of Scotland had used Linlithgow Palace as a court between 1440 and 1603. It was the favourite residence of James V and his daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, was born there. The Palace was abandoned when James VI ascended the throne of England in 1603 and by 1688 the structure was in ruins. The Reverend William Gilpin described Linlithgow in his Observations, relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1776… on the Highlands of Scotland (1789) as ‘that noble palace’. Turner made many sketches of Linlithgow when he visited the Palace on his Scottish tour of 1801. To learn more about this painting, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/19c/turner.aspx This painting featured in the Walker Art Gallery’s exhibition ‘Turner’s Journeys of the Imagination’ in 2002. To read more about this exhibition, please follow the link below:http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/turner/
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by F J Nettlefold in 1948

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps