Joseph Mallord William Turner

Southwark Cathedral and a Piledriver above Old London Bridge

1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 100 x 160 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17956
Turner Bequest CCVI 23

Catalogue entry

In this slight sketch, the outline of Southwark Cathedral and the waterfront along the south bank of the River Thames are shown. To the left are slight indications of piledrivers upstream of Old London Bridge, for one 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 folios 23 verso–24 recto and 25 recto (D17957–D17958, 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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