Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sterns of City Barges; a Boat Flying Flags


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVI 26

Catalogue entry

At the top right is a slight sketch of the profile of a boat or boats flying several large, square flags. The main study shows the sterns of two City of London livery company barges, side by side; their identities are a little uncertain, as the details and notes are not particularly clear. Above the one in the centre are the partial note of a motto, ‘To God only [...]’ with ‘3 [?Crown] | W I’ below; above the other stern appears to be ‘Grocers’, with ‘3 [?treble] Crowns’ towards the right. See also the study of the Fishmongers’ barge on folio 25 verso opposite (D17961).
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 the Lord Mayor’s Day procession of 9 November 1824, as discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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