Joseph Mallord William Turner

A City Barge; ?a Procession of the Grocers’ Company; Banners


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVI 22 a

Catalogue entry

The drawings between folios 20 verso and 34 verso (D40967, D17979) include rapid studies and notes of barges, flags, costumes and bridges along the River Thames, and appear to record or relate to the Lord Mayor’s Day procession of 9 November 1824, as discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction.
Here, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, at the top left Turner has noted a ‘camel’, ‘White Gd’ (ground) and ‘Red bar’, and the motto ‘God Grant Grace’; these are elements of the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London.1 These arms are also roughly depicted at the top left, surmounting a structure with a turret and arches; this may represent some temporary celebratory arch or pavilion.
Below the motto, at increasingly diagonal angles, are some rather scrawled colour notes, apparently relating the figures below, who are perhaps in ceremonial dress: ‘Red jacket white [...] | Black [... ?collar]’. The coat and breeches of the figure on the right of the group are respectively noted as ‘Red’ and ‘w’ for white. A little to the right appears to be the figure of a woman in a long robe or coat and a tall hat, components of the costume being labelled ‘Pink’, ‘Pink’ and ‘Red’. The note at the right, ‘White [?front]’ may also relate to costume.
At the top right is another near-illegible note along the lines of ‘Grocer | Grocer | [?Crest Below sho... | wa...]’. Of the three banners below, flying from the stern of an ornate barge, one may be a Union Flag, and two may be heraldic.
See Grocers’ Company, accessed 20 February 2014,
Technical notes:
A tear at the top right corner has been repaired.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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