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Watercolour - Roslin Chapel, near Edinburgh, showing the 'Prentice Pillar'
  • Roslin Chapel, near Edinburgh, showing the 'Prentice Pillar'
    Shepherd, George
  • Enlarge image

Roslin Chapel, near Edinburgh, showing the 'Prentice Pillar'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Edinburgh (made)

  • Date:

    1809 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shepherd, George (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    William Smith Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 32, box R

Physical description

Interior view of Roslin Chapel depicting the so-called 'Prentice Pillar'. Signed and dated.

Place of Origin

Edinburgh (made)


1809 (painted)


Shepherd, George (artist)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 59 cm framed, Width: 79.5 cm framed

Object history note

Roslin Chapel, famous for its sculpture and elaborate decorative carving, was founded in 1446. But the admittedly unlikely, legend of the 'Prentice Pillar' ensured further celebrity. The unusual design of the pillar, four strips of foliage spiralling upwards from a base of entwined serpents, is supposed to have been planned and executed by a young apprentice while the master mason was absent; on his return, he murdered his pupil as a punishment for his presumption. For his composition, Shepherd used a meticulously measured drawing by the architect J.M.Gandy, who exhibited two such drawings of Roslin in 1807 and 1809.

Descriptive line

Watercolour by George Shepherd, after J. M. Gandy, depicting an interior view of Roslin Chapel, near Edinburgh, showing the 'Prentice Pillar'. Great Britain, 1809.





Subjects depicted

Interior view; Church, Chapel; Architectural Elements, Pillar, Arch


Interiors; Architecture; Religion; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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