Joseph Mallord William Turner

Old London Bridge


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 98 x 162 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCV 35

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this sketch, continuing a little way to the right on folio 34 verso opposite (D17893), shows the downstream side of Old London Bridge from the east; various numbers above indicate details including sequences of balusters. The section further to the left from this viewpoint is shown on the verso (D17895). Compare the arches on folio 2 verso (D17837) and the elevation on folios 32 verso–33 recto (D17889–D17890).
There are strokes of grey watercolour on the opposite page, probably relating to 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 bridge is seen from a similar angle in that composition, and Turner may have tested the colour while referring to this page as he worked.

More than half the drawings in this sketchbook show the River Thames around the bridge, and are likely to date from 1824; see the book’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.514, reproduced.

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