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Old Westminster Bridge

Old Westminster Bridge

Etching printed on old laid paper, 1859

Probably Whistler’s earliest etching of the Thames, made soon after his move from Paris on 6 May 1859. Like other early Thames etchings it was originally printed in small numbers for private circulation, probably on the press in Seymour Haden’s house in Sloane Street. Only later was it published as one of the sixteen etchings of ‘The Thames Set’ in 1871.

The newly built Houses of Parliament dominate the skyline with the tower of Big Ben still scaffolded (the clock chimed for the first time on 31 May 1859). Old Westminster Bridge was soon to be demolished and the river embanked. Two years later, Whistler made an etching showing construction of the new bridge.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959.

Collections record: P.79-1959

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