Old London Bridge and Vicinity

watercolor depicting busy harbor scene with London bridge in background

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Old London Bridge and Vicinity (also known as The Port of London), 1824
For Views in London and Its Environs
Watercolor and gouache on paper
11 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (29.2 x 44.5 cm)
Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Jones Bequest
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Turner captures the congestion of his native city, which was then emerging as a major commercial hub. Throngs of sailors and fisherman, as well as commercial goods, seem to spill out of the image in the foreground. In the distance, a barge has been forced to lower its mast in order to pass beneath the low arches of Old London Bridge, by then obsolete. The bridge was demolished a few years later, in 1830.

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