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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Old Admiralty Building and its Screen, Whitehall, London c.1808-11

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 54 Recto:
The Old Admiralty Building and its Screen, Whitehall, London circa 1808–11
Turner Bequest CXIV 54
Pencil on white wove paper, 87 x 117 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘54’ bottom right (smudged)
Stamped in black ‘CXIV – 54’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
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.org/london/search/factsheet.asp?ftloh_id=14993; and Maurice Davies, Turner as Professor: The Artist and Linear Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1992, p.33.

Matthew Imms
January 2012

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Old Admiralty Building and its Screen, Whitehall, London c.1808–11 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-old-admiralty-building-and-its-screen-whitehall-london-r1134809, accessed 24 November 2020.