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Old Westminster Bridge, 1859, by James Whistler.Old Westminster Bridge, 1859, by James Whistler.
Old Westminster Bridge, 1859, by James Whistler.

© National Maritime Museum, London

Repro ID: PW5485
Title: Old Westminster Bridge, 1859, by James Whistler.
Description: Whistler's etching of Labelye's original Westminster Bridge, opened in 1750. By 1859, work was well underway on the new Westminster Bridge, Thomas Page's cast-iron structure, which opened in 1864. This was number 4 of Whistler's 'Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects'. Old Westminster Bridge is shown in the distance with the newly built Houses of Parliament on the skyline. The artist has concentrated on the view showing the broad expanse of the river and used only a few lines to indicate the movement of water. Two small paddle steamers are shown on the water with the sails of small craft beyond. The chimneys of factories on the south bank are sketched on the right. Two men on horse back are shown in the foreground in a stylistic pose evoking the prints of Rembrandt. The image narrows towards the bridge in the distance. There is an unreal sensation of calm, emphasised by the paddle steamers giving little impression of moving through the water.
Creator: James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903
Date: 1859
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London


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