Joseph (or J.M.W.) Turner (1775-1851) is widely regarded as the finest painter that England has produced. Principally, though not exclusively, a landscape artist working in the Romantic style, he is seen as someone who laid the foundations for Impressionism. However, that accolade detracts from his particular genius, which, in his most developed style, involved using oil paint in the manner of a water colourist - "painting with light". Works such as "Interior at Petworth", "Rain, Steam and Speed" or "Venice Quay" show scenes, as if glimpsed through half-closed eyes, with the forms indistinctly outlined through shimmering light. Tate Britain holds the largest collection of his paintings, including those that he bequeathed to the nation, and I made sure I saw some on my visit.
Turner painted a number of Thames scenes, though never this view, since Tower Bridge was built forty years after his death. But, as I stood looking at the sunset glow, the brightly-edged clouds, and the light reflected on the river, it was Turner's work that came to mind. I composed this shot so that the sun was behind a building and so not too overpowering. I also made sure that the silhouettes of the barges against the cold blue of the Thames gave some foreground interest and led the eye into the composition. The outlines of the City, that glorious sky, and thoughts of Turner did the rest.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen