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Edinburgh Castle from the Foot of the Vennel, 1845

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Edinburgh Castle from the Foot of the Vennel, 1845 Dated (in pencil) August 16th 1845

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This study shows one of the most spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle. This aspect was a very popular one among artists in the mid-nineteenth century. An inscription on the paper says that it was done 'on the spot'. McCulloch moved to Edinburgh in 1838 and painted many distant views of the city, but this drawing is one of only three known street scenes (the other two are both in the NGS collection). The scale of the imposing Castle and the glory of its past contrast with the humble lives of the ordinary people and buildings below. The limited palette, use of white body-colour, and sparse application of wash suggest that McCulloch may have been influenced by the technique of David Roberts.

Glossary Open


Usually refers to watercolour mixed with white pigment that retains the fluidity of watercolour but without the transparency. The term gouache is also used.


A hand-held board on which a painter lays out and mixes the colours he or she is using. By extension it is used to describe the range of colours employed by an artist.


A transparent layer of diluted ink or watercolour.

Body-colour, Palette , Wash


  • Acc. No. D 2650
  • Medium Watercolour over pencil heightened with white on two sheets of buff paper
  • Size 41.00 x 36.80 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881