Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Thames Bridge; an Amorous Couple Fishing; Children Fishing; a Horse-Drawn Waggon; a Wooded Riverside Landscape


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 162 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCV 41 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, Turner has recorded a number of unrelated scenes and incidents which appear to have caught his eye incidentally. At the top left is a slight view looking up from the water at a substantial bridge; many of the studies in the present book show Old London Bridge, and this to may be it or another of the Thames bridges. At the top left is a rapid but telling impression of a man, leaning in towards a woman; the long vertical line running down between them may be his fishing rod but they are engaged in ‘Love instead of fishing’. Below, above figures beside a silhouetted, beached sailing boat on the foreshore is a note of ‘children fishing with clothes tucked up’; compare folio 4 recto (D17840), with its ‘children digging a sandheap’.1
Inverted below are three small studies of figures and what is noted as a ‘water cart’. Occupying the same register are what seems to be an ‘Artillery Yeoman’ and galloping horses pulling a gun carriage. Lastly, inverted at the gutter comes an arcade in a wooded setting seemingly labelled ‘Thames’, perhaps at a wharf or boatyard up-river west of London; there are identified views around Richmond upon Thames at the beginning of this sketchbook, and others at this end likely to be in the vicinity; see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

For examples of Turner’s attitude to children and depictions of them, see Lindsay 1966, pp.16–20; see also Lindsay 1985, p.9.

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