Joseph Mallord William Turner

Old London Bridge

c.1794

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 262 x 359 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00892
Turner Bequest XXXIII U

Display caption

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.

Gallery label, August 2004

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