View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
With the page turned vertically, Turner has made various sketches, juxtaposed at random, of shipping and associated figures in the Pool of London in the vicinity of Old London Bridge, which is seen in the distance at the top with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral beyond to the north-west. At the bottom is an inverted skyline, possibly including the shot tower then on the south bank near the bridge.
There are slight strokes of grey and blue watercolour at the bottom left. Ian Warrell has suggested that these relate to the production of the 1824 watercolour known as The Port of London (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),1 engraved in 1827 as Old London Bridge and Vicinity (Tate impression: T06070); see the overall Introduction to the present Thames-related section. The complex jumble of shipping and figures in the foreground of that composition would have been informed by details such as those recorded here.2
More than half the drawings in this sketchbook show the river around the bridge, and are likely to date from 1824; see the book’s Introduction.