Old Hungerford Bridge by James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834–1903). 1861. Etching and drypoint, printed in black ink on thin laid paper, 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches (13.5 x 20.8 cm)sheet 8 7/8 x 13 3/4 inches (22 x 27 cm). This is a impression in the second state (of four) aside from the edition published in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects, (the Thames Set) published by Ellis & Green in 1871. Source: Whistler on the Thames. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Commentary by Gordon Cooke

The composition shows the old suspension bridge seen from a high vantage point, looking eastwards downstream, with Hungerford Pier below. The river and the foreground are indicated with a few lines. But the complex of piles, struts and the bridge in the middle distance are drawn in greater detail. The old bridge and the iron columns supporting the new Charing Cross railway bridge, visible beyond, are placed towards the top of the picture, accentuating the empty space in the foreground. In design, drawing and conception it differs markedly from Whistler’s work in the etchings of 1859.

Old Hungerford Bridge was first shown at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1862, and then at the Royal Academy of Arts as Hungerford Bridge in 1863 (969). The subject was published in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects, (the Thames Set) as ‘Wapping Wharf’ (no. 6). The plate was sold by F. Keppel & Co. to Charles Lang Freer in 1896 and is now in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art.

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Bibliography

Kennedy, Edward G. The Etched Work of Whistler. New York: 1910. No. 76.

MacDonald, Margaret F. Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock. James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonné. No. 76. University of Glasgow, 2011. Web.

Whistler on the Thames. London: The Fine Art Society, 2013. No. 10, pp. 34-35.


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Last modified 22 May 2014