A Dream of the Nor' Loch and Edinburgh Castle

Image credit: Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture

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The Nor' Loch or North Loch was an artificial lake created below the Castle Rock in 1460 as part of the Northern defence of the city of Edinburgh. In c.1759 the lake, which had become a public health hazard as the repository for the City's waste, was partly drained as part of the improvements to the city and the construction of the North Bridge. The rest of the lake was drained in order to lay out Princess Street Gardens in 1820. Edinburgh Castle dates back to c.1093 but much of its present day appearance dates from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As with his depiction of the Nor' Loch, Paterson has created an artist's impression of a very early view of Edinburgh Castle minus the later additions. An alternative interpretation is that James Paterson has depicted an apocolyptic vision of Edinburgh showing the castle in ruins and Princes Street Gardens flooded below after the deluge.

Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture



A Dream of the Nor' Loch and Edinburgh Castle




oil on canvas


H 102 x W 127.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Diploma Work deposit, 1913

Work type



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Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture

The Mound, Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH2 2EL Scotland

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