View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the most prominent study is of part of the River Thames waterfront of the Tower of London, with St Thomas’s Tower framing Traitors’ Gate towards the left, seen from the south-west. This is one of a number of sketches which informed Turner’s watercolour of the Tower of about 1825 (private collection),1 as discussed in the entry for folio 34 recto (D17819), the closest to the finished design. The loose shapes to the right appear to indicate the Perseus, a former 22-gun Royal Navy frigate since reduced to a hulk and moored at that point.2 There is a wider view from a similar direction on folio 35 recto opposite (D17821).
Above is an array of shipping closely corresponding to that of the Tower in the watercolour, including the Perseus again on the right. Peter van der Merwe has discussed the vessels in the finished design in considerable detail, noting a collier on the left (two being shown in the watercolour) and concluding that the confidently detailed depictions there of the steamers Lord Melville and Talbot, in the position occupied by the single lightly sketched equivalent to the left of centre here, might have been based as much on information from newspaper advertisements as on direct observation.3 See also the detail of a steamer (or two) on folio 36 recto (D17823).
For other London and Thames views in the present book, see under folio 2 recto (D17775).
An adventitious splash of grey pigment towards the bottom right probably relates to the colouring of the walls of the Tower in the finished design.