Joseph Mallord William Turner Old London Bridge c.1794

Artwork details

Old London Bridge
Date c.1794
Medium Graphite and watercolour on paper
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIII U
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

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Although he was born in London, Turner made few finished watercolours of the city or its buildings. However, as a boy he was fascinated with the various industries along the banks of the Thames, and he often sailed past Old London Bridge in his boat.

In this work, the low viewpoint suggests that Turner painted the bridge from the shore. He has lightly sketched in a carriage with coachman and passengers travelling over the bridge, though he seems to have been most interested in its architectural features: gothic arches and tracery. Southwark Bridge can be seen in the distance.

August 2004

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