Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, from Downstream


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 102 x 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIII 7

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, Turner’s viewpoint is the foreshore of the south bank of the Thames, looking upstream south-west to the river frontage and twin domes of the Royal Naval Hospital (now known as the Old Royal Naval College). Greenwich Hospital, an 1822 lithograph by J.D. Harding (London Metropolitan Archives), shows the same scene from further off.
There are lightly indicated houses on the left and shipping on the right. Turner had previously recorded the complex of buildings by Sir Christopher Wren and others, most extensively in the Greenwich sketchbook (Tate D06759, D06760; Turner Bequest CII 20a–21 and onwards), and made them the focus of the his painting London from Greenwich, exhibited in 1811 (Tate N00483)1 and a related Liber Studiorum design (see under Tate D08131; Turner Bequest CXVII D). The present sketchbook largely comprises drawings of identified or likely Thames subjects and shipping, as set out in the introduction.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.69–70 no.97, pl.104 (colour).
Technical notes:
There is a short tear towards the gutter on the top edge of the page (i.e. towards the top right of the drawing).

Matthew Imms
September 2013

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