Turner’s sketch shows the northern half of the Old Admiralty (officially the Ripley Building at 26 Whitehall, and still in use as government offices), looking west from Whitehall, London. The main block was designed by Thomas Ripley in the 1720s as living accommodation for the Lords of the Admiralty and office space, with Robert Adam’s colonnaded screen added in 1758.1
The drawing continues on folio 53 verso opposite (D08029), where the southern half of the site is shown in less detail. Turner included a large watercolour diagram of the façade, with the main building seen receding steeply behind the screen (Tate D17144; Turner Bequest CXCV 173) in the first of his Royal Academy perspective lectures in January 1811 (see the Introduction to the sketchbook).
See ‘26 Whitehall (former Admiralty Buildings)’, Open House London, accessed 30 September 2011, http://www
.londonopenhouse; and Maurice Davies, Turner as Professor: The Artist and Linear Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1992, p.33. .org /london /search /factsheet .asp ?ftloh_id =14993