Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Shot Tower and St Olave’s Church across the Pool of London; Old London Bridge; the Tower of Southwark Cathedral


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 98 × 162 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCV 9 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the main view shows the waterfront along the south bank of the River Thames near Old London Bridge, with the tower of St Olave’s Church and the nearby shot tower (both now gone). Below are details of the central section of the bridge and the tower of Southwark Cathedral beyond to the south-west, while at the top is a rapid sketch of a sailing boat.
There are slight strokes of pale blue watercolour at the bottom centre. Ian Warrell has suggested that these relate to the production of the 1824 watercolour known as The Port of London (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),1 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.2
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.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.514, reproduced.
See Warrell 1991, p.41.
Technical notes:
There are two adventitious strokes of watercolour at the foot of the drawing, as discussed above. Compare the similar marks on folio 10 recto opposite (D17852) and folios 11 recto, 20 verso and 34 verso (D17854, D17873, D17893).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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