View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This watercolour sketch has been described by James Hamilton as ‘Waterloo Bridge from beneath’,1 and Andrew Wilton notes that Turner’s use of an exaggerated low viewpoint derived from Thomas Malton Junior’s Picturesque Tour Through the Cities of London and Westminster, 1792.2 Considering Turner’s other studies of Waterloo Bridge in this sketchbook, folios 6–10 (D13820–D13824; CLXX 5–9), that were all made from the north bank of the Thames, it is probable that this one was too, and therefore shows the northern end of the bridge from the east.
Turner made the picture by marking the main lines of perspective created by the bridge, and its arches in pencil before filling in the rest of the details in brown watercolour wash to show the shadows under the arches and between the two Doric columns that stand between each arch. He has also painted several figures in a boat in the foreground and perhaps several more on the shore at the right. Through the arch can be seen the first indication of some of the arches of Westminster Bridge to the south.
Turner made a similar study from the other side of the bridge on folio 8.