About this artwork

This watercolour shows Edinburgh’s distinctive skyline, a view which has hardly changed to this day. In the foreground is the Palace of Holyroodhouse and in the distance are Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. The city is seen covered by a thick blanket of mist. Edinburgh is still affectionately known as "Auld Reekie" (Scots for ‘Old Smokey’), a nickname originating from the days when smoke from open coal and peat fires hung over the city like a fog. The freedom of MacWhirter’s brushstrokes, his dramatic colouring and dazzling sky are reminiscent of J.M.W. Turner’s watercolours. His choice of blue paper was also influenced by Turner, who regularly painted on coloured paper.

  • title:
    Old Edinburgh
  • accession number:
    D 5056
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Watercolour over black chalk on blue paper
  • date created:
    Unknown
  • measurements:
    17.00 x 34.50 cm
  • credit line:
    Dr Charles Warren Gift 1978
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

John MacWhirter

John MacWhirter