J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Beneath London Bridge from the West with Boat and Figures c.1820

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 8 Recto:
Beneath London Bridge from the West with Boat and Figures circa 1820
Turner Bequest CLXX 7
Pencil and watercolour on off-white wove paper, 177 x 256 mm
Inscribed in red ink by John Ruskin ‘7’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXX – 7’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This study of Waterloo Bridge, made in pencil and watercolour wash, was taken from the north bank of the Thames just to the west of the structure. Looking through the first arch the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen about a mile away to the east. Turner’s perspective is slightly unnatural as we look north-north-east through the arch to St Paul’s, but south-east along the rest of the length of the bridge. Figures are roughly indicated in the left and centre foreground and at the right are the masts of several boats, including a mast and gaff with a rolled-up sail, perhaps seen again on folios 9 and 10 (D13823, D13824; CLXX 8, 9).
Turner also made two other sketches of the cathedral seen through the bridge in the Tabley sketchbook, No.3 (Tate D07094, D07106; Turner Bequest CV 72, 78), as Andrew Wilton observed,1 perhaps on the same occasion. On folio 5 of this sketchbook (D13821; CLXX 6) is a sketch of the bridge arches from the opposite side. There is a further sketch of Waterloo Bridge on folio 6 D13820; CLXX 5).
Turner 1775–1851 1974–5, p.85 under cat.203.

Thomas Ardill
August 2009

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Beneath London Bridge from the West with Boat and Figures c.1820 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-beneath-london-bridge-from-the-west-with-boat-and-figures-r1132307, accessed 25 May 2018.