Joseph Mallord William Turner
Colour Sketch, Perhaps a View Near London Bridge c.1820

Artwork details

Colour Sketch, Perhaps a View Near London Bridge
From Scotland and London Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXX
Date c.1820
Dimensions Support: 177 x 256 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXX 13
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Catalogue entry

This colour sketch, executed in thin grey, yellow and red watercolour, appears to show buildings by water with the masts of boats at the left foreground. The most likely subject matter is of a view near London Bridge on the Thames, a subject depicted in three pencil and wash sketches in this book: folios 10, 11 and 43 (D13824, D13825, D13858; CLXX 9, 10, 42). With these in mind, the two tower shapes near the centre of the study may be the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral or the Spire of St Magnus-the-Martyr at the left and the Monument to the Great Fire of London to the right as in folio 12.
Another watercolour sketch on folio 13 (D13828; CLXX 12), executed with the same paints, and evidently on the same occasion, also includes a tower and masts and is probably connected, along with a watercolour sketch on folio 41 verso (D13856; CLXX 40a).
The three studies were likely to have been made back in the studio following Turner’s sketching on the Thames with the present book, although it is possible that they were also made en plein air.

Thomas Ardill
August 2009

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