Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Barnes Approach to Hammersmith Bridge


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 x 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXL 62

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, Turner shows the approach to one of the two massive stone Tuscan archways supporting the Hammersmith suspension bridge, which opened in October 1827,1 with the matching structure on the far side of the River Thames visible through the arch. The buildings on the far bank indicate that the viewpoint is the rural south bank of the Thames, looking across to the Hammersmith waterfront. View of the Entrance to the Suspension Bridge at Hammersmith, an 1827 lithograph by Arthur Mee (London Metropolitan Archives) shows the equivalent approach from the opposite end, flanked by crossed-braced railings, as shown by Turner, lamp-posts and toll-booths.
As discussed under folio 58 verso (D22434), where other Hammersmith views are mentioned, Turner’s studies of the bridge seem to have a rather provisional air, and may show it still under construction. The partly illegible inscription apparently comprises technical information, and includes the name of the bridge’s designer, W[illiam] Tierney Clark,2 perhaps gleaned from someone at the site. There is an oblique detail of the stonework on folio 63 recto (D22443).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

See ‘Hammersmith Bridge’, Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide, accessed 22 July 2013,
See ibid.

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