Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
A Steamboat and Other Vessels on the Thames at Adelaide Wharf near London Bridge, (formerly known as Fire at Fenning’s Wharf, on the Thames at Bermondsey), ca. 1836
Pencil and watercolor on paper
11 9/16 x 17 3/8 in. (29.4 x 44.1 cm)
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Courtesy of the Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Turner uses animated brushwork and a cool color palette to create an almost abstract image of London. The dark cloud on the right, once thought to have been smoke from a fire, is now seen as the polluting trail of a steamboat, faintly visible in front of the arches of London Bridge. Figures become ghostly silhouettes against a view of the harbor transformed by the rapid rise of steam power.