Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coffer-Dams and Piledrivers on the River Thames above Old London Bridge, with St Magnus the Martyr’s Church and the Monument


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 x 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVI 23 a

Catalogue entry

The full width of Old London Bridge is shown across this page and folio 24 recto opposite (D17958), looking east from upstream, with the Monument and the tower of St Magnus the Martyr on the left here, and the shot tower (now gone) on the south bank on the other page. Also on that page are piledrivers for the ongoing construction of the coffer-dams out of which the piers of the bridge’s replacement would rise. Work had begun in March 1824, as discussed under folio 22 recto (D17954), and Turner seems to have taken the opportunity to revisit the works on 9 November, Lord Mayor’s Day. See also the sketches on the recto and folio 25 recto (D17956, D17960).
As well as Old London Bridge, 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 that occasion, as discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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