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Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh

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Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh About 1819

Not on display

Heriot’s Hospital appears as a faint but imposing silhouette at the centre of this watercolour, seen from West Bow (now part of Victoria Street) at the eastern end of the Grassmarket. The hospital was a charitable institution founded in 1628 for the benefit of orphans whose fathers were freemen of Edinburgh. It is now George Heriot’s School. Turner contrasts the grand architectural backdrop of the hospital with the narrow tenements and hectic activity in the foreground. The figures are shown in great detail, with street traders setting out their goods, dogs roaming and a group heaving a coal cart uphill.

Glossary Open


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.



  • Acc. No. D 5447
  • Medium Watercolour over pencil with some scraping out on wove paper
  • Size 16.60 x 25.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased by Private Treaty via Christie's with support by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund