The main view is south-west from the Pool of London, looking up the River Thames to Old London Bridge, with the tower of St Olave’s Church, the adjacent shot tower and the tower of Southwark Cathedral beyond. At the top left appears to be the oblique façade of a building, with an inverted study of one of the bridge’s arches beside it, while boats and figures are sketched at the top right.
There are slight strokes of ochre watercolour at the bottom left. Eric Shanes has noted this drawing as one of a number in this sketchbook1 relating to the 1824 watercolour known as The Port of London (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),2 engraved in 1827 as Old London Bridge and Vicinity (Tate impression: T06070); see the overall Introduction to the present Thames-related section. The background of the left-hand side of that composition would have been informed by the details recorded here and, as Ian Warrell has suggested, Turner may have tested a colour on this page (and others referred to in the Technical notes below) as he worked on the composition.3
More than half the drawings in this sketchbook show the river around the bridge, and are likely to date from 1824; see the book’s Introduction.
There are adventitious strokes of watercolour at the bottom left of the drawing, as discussed above. Compare the similar marks on folios 9 verso, 10 recto, 11 recto and 20 verso (D17851, D17852, D17854, D17893). There is prominent brown mottling to the upper half of the page, perhaps from proximity to the watercolour study on folio 21 recto opposite (D17874).