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Courtesy of the Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Lender: The Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Joseph Mallord William Turner  (1775–1851)
A Steamboat and Other Vessels on the Thames at Adelaide Wharf near London Bridge, ca. 1836
Pencil and watercolor on paper
11 9/16 × 17 3/8 in. (29.4 × 44.1 cm)
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Currently on View
East Gallery (119)
Link to floorplan and Virtual Tour

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.

This work is on loan to Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages through Time