Joseph Mallord William Turner

London Bridge, with the Monument and the Church of St Magnus King and Martyr


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 345 × 223 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXVIII K

Display caption

Although born in London, Turner made few finished watercolours of the city or its buildings. However, Old London Bridge particularly engaged his attention, and he drew it a number of times.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

In this watercolour, based on a pencil drawing (Tate D00695; Turner Bequest XXVIII J), Turner achieves a tonal unity and continuity that are, perhaps, new, and which make it difficult to date precisely. It marks a departure from the striated, jerky application of washes, reflecting the influence of Edward Dayes (1763–1804), in the watercolours that he had been producing in 1793, and could date from as late as early 1795; the sky in particular seems to suggest that date. But it was most likely executed in the latter part of 1794. Another technically sophisticated watercolour of a London subject of about this time is Tate D00684 (Turner Bequest XXVII W).
Finberg notes the pencil study D00695 as ‘Once No.66 in 3rd Loan Collection (withdrawn September 1904)’,1 but this appears to be in error, the exhibited work being listed as in colour and hence presumably the present watercolour.2
Finberg 1909, I, p.57.
See Warrell 1991, p.47.
Technical notes:
The sheet was formerly folded laterally approximately 10 mm above the lower edge.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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