Turner here offers a panorama of greater London as seen from Greenwich Park, looking down towards the Naval Hospital designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the river Thames, and the distant city. The foreground is littered with maps and globes, with a woman holding up two plans for a naval pensioner with spectacles and crutches to inspect–a reference to England's past. Slightly behind, a man dressed in a fashionably tall top hat and yellow gloves raises his hands to celebrate the burgeoning present. Finally, a third figure further down the hill peers through a telescope at steam boats racing past sailing ships on the river–a hint at the future. The watercolor belongs to a group that the artist made around 1825, devoted to the nation's capital city. The intent was to reproduce the series as prints but the project was never realized.
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Title:View of London from Greenwich
Artist:Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
Medium:Watercolor and ink and traces of graphite
Dimensions:sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 in. (21.3 x 28 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Alexandrine Sinsheimer, 1958
Inscription: Inscribed text within the drawing: two unfurled maps are inscribed "London 1526 / Reign of Queen Elizabeth" [date that actually falls during the reign of Henry VIII] and "London 1825 / R[eign of] George IV"; a scrolled sheet is marked "S. Paul's Cathedral / C- Wren"; a portfolio is labeled "Designs of London"; and a globe is marked "New World." Partially-erased and overpainted names of British canals remain visible under high magnification at the lower left center of the sheet.
John Ruskin (British)noted Thomas Agnew & Sons files, published Shanes, Apollo, Oct. 1994; passed to Arthur Severn (British), sold March 1926 to Agnew's, Londonnoted Thomas Agnew & Sons files, published Shanes, Apollo, Oct. 1994; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., exh. Nov. 1927 (80) & Mar. 1928 (110)noted Thomas Agnew & Sons files, published Shanes, Apollo, Oct. 1994; Alexandrine Sinsheimer, purchased from Agnew's 1928noted Thomas Agnew & Sons files, published Shanes, Apollo, Oct. 1994
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "J. M. W. Turner," October 1, 2007–January 6, 2008.
Dallas Museum of Art. "J. M. W. Turner," February 10–May 18, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "J. M. W. Turner," June 24–September 21, 2008.
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY. "The Panoramic River: The Hudson and the Thames," February 2, 2013–May 19, 2013.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Turner's Modern World," October 17, 2021–February 6, 2022.
Wilton, 1979, no. 513, p. 358.
Andrew Wilton J.M.W. Turner: His Art and Life. Rizzoli, New York, 1979, cat. no. 513, p. 358, ill.
Eric Shanes "Turner's Unknown London Series." in Turner Studies. vol. 1, no. 2, 1981, 39-42.
Martin Butlin, Evelyn Joll The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner.. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1984, cat. no. 97.
Eric Shanes "A Busily Majestic Prospect Rediscovered: Turner's unusual view of London in 1825." in Apollo Magazine. London, October 1994, fig. no. 1, pp. 28-29, ill.
Gillian Forrester Turner's 'Drawing Book': The Liber Studiorum, exh. cat., London, Tate Gallery, 20 February–2 June. London, 1996, cat. nos. 26-27, pp. 75-8.
Ian Warrell, Franklin Kelly J.M.W. Turner. [Ex. cat.: National Gallery of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 21, 2007–September 21, 2008]. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Tate Publishing , London, 2007, cat. no. 74, p. 112, ill.
John Bonehill, Stephen Daniels "Projecting London: Turner and Greenwich." Oxford Art Journal. vol. 35, no. 2, 2012, pp. 171-94.
Michael Botwinick, Bartholomew W. Bland, Laura L. Vookles, Geoff Snell, Pat Hardy, Tara Dawson The Panoramic River: The Hudson and the Thames. Exh. cat., February 2 to May 19. Hudson River Museum, 2013, fig. no. 24, frontis., pp. 12, 49, 188, ill.
David Blayney Brown, Amy Concannon, James Finch, Sam Smiles Turner's Modern World. ex. cat., Tate Britain, Kimbell Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2020-22. 2020, pp 126-27, no. 91, ill.
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