Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sailing Vessels in the Pool of London, with Old London Bridge

c.1821–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 187 × 113 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17274
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 39 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the sketchbook turned vertically, this and the facing page, folio 40 recto (D17275) are typical slight, random studies in the Pool of London below Old London Bridge with its wide central arch, and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral to the north-east beyond, as shown many times in 1820s sketchbooks. For more detailed information and context, see Matthew Imms’s Introduction to the ‘The River Thames, London and the South of England 1821–7’ section of this catalogue.
On the present page, Turner describes three rows of sailing vessels. A delicate outline of the Old London Bridge marks the space between the top and central rows. The bridge is repeated again on the left side of the middle drawing, in the background, with St Paul’s clearly evident towards the right.
Turner’s handling is deft and careful, describing the distinctive shapes of different vessels with interest and accuracy. An inscription which applies to the bottom sketch appears to describe the colour and quality of the sail belonging to the central vessel: ‘Tan Sail’.1
1
Ibid.
Technical notes:
Dark thumb or finger prints mark the left edge of this page.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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