J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Profiles of the Arches of Old London Bridge from Downstream; a Study of Clouds ?at Sunset c.1823-4

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Verso:
Profiles of the Arches of Old London Bridge from Downstream; a Study of Clouds ?at Sunset c.1823–4
D17837
Turner Bequest CCV 2a
Pencil on white wove paper, 98 x 162 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘yellow cloud’, ‘Clouds’, ‘Blue’, ‘Red Edges’, ‘Red orange | [...]’ ‘Red’ and ‘Grey [...]’ at relevant points in sky towards right, descending vertically
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned vertically, at the outer end is a pencil study of clouds with the disk of the sun just above a perfunctory horizon. The various notes of ‘red’ probably indicate sunset; see also the monochrome watercolour studies with low suns later in the sketchbook on folio 21 recto (D17874) and subsequent pages.
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation and overlapping with the sky study are three bands of shallow, pointed arches, studied from downstream of Old London Bridge; one of them frames a slight view west up the River Thames to Southwark Bridge, with a suggestion of the arches of Blackfriars Bridge beyond in turn. Compare the way Southwark Bridge appears through the widest arch in 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), and see the overall Introduction to the present Thames-related section. There are similar quasi-diagrammatic studies on folios 32 verso–33 recto, 34 verso–35 recto and 35 verso (D17889–D17890, D17893–D17895).
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. As the sky study appears to have been made earlier, the narrow range applicable to the book as a whole has been used here.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.514, reproduced.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Profiles of the Arches of Old London Bridge from Downstream; a Study of Clouds ?at Sunset c.1823–4 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-profiles-of-the-arches-of-old-london-bridge-from-downstream-r1172548, accessed 22 May 2024.