Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Hulk ‘Perseus’ on the River Thames off the Tower of London

c.1823–4

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 111 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17810
Turner Bequest CCIV 29 a

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch shows the hulk of the Perseus, a former 22-gun Royal Navy frigate,1 moored on the River Thames off the Tower of London, which is seen to the north-east, with the White Tower in the distance above St Thomas’s Tower and the waterfront Traitors’ Gate. This is one of a number of sketches which informed Turner’s watercolour of the Tower of about 1825 (private collection),2 as discussed in the entry for folio 34 recto (D17819), the closest to the finished design, where the bows of the hulk are shown to one side from a different angle. There is another view of the Tower from a similar angle on folio 30 recto opposite (D17811).
For other London and Thames views, see under folio 2 recto (D17775).

Matthew Imms
November 2014

1
See van der Merwe 1991, pp.12, 13.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.515.

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