Joseph Mallord William Turner

The London Bridge Foundation Stone Ceremony: Inside the Marquee, with Figures


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 113 x 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXIII 73 a

Catalogue entry

There are some very rapid indications of figures here, and perhaps part of the interior structure of the marquee erected over the coffer-dam around the site of the southernmost pier of the new London Bridge, for the foundation stone ceremony held on the riverbed on 15 June 1825. The various scribbled notes are almost wholly illegible, and no overall attempt at a transcription is attempted here. To the right of the centre, one word may be ‘Mayor’, indicating the position of the Lord Mayor of London, John Garratt.
This is one of a sequence of hurried sketches, apparently made in the course of the ceremony, working backwards through the book between folios 78 verso (D18818) and 71 verso (D18804). The event and other studies relating to it at the beginning and end of this sketchbook are discussed in the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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