Westminster Bridge 1745 by Scott, circa 1850
Westminster Bridge 1745 by Samuel Scott, engraved by James B. Allen, circa 1850.
This print is a view of the original Westminster Bridge, which was built from 1739-1750. Designed by Swiss architect, Charles Labelye (1705-1781), it had fourteen piers and fifteen arches. The center arch was the widest and measured seventy-six feet wide. Each subsequent arch was four feet narrower than the preceding one. It was built of stone and was the the first large scale project to make use of caissons. This method was highly criticized during construction, but praised by many upon completion. However, in 1831, it became necessary to replace the bridge because subsiding had made use of it dangerous. It was replaced by a seven arched wrought iron bridge designed by Thomas Page (1803-1877). It is near the north end of Westminster Palace and is therefore painted green after the leather seats in the House of Commons, which is at that end of the building. Charles Barry (1795-1860), who was involved in the reconstruction of Westminster Palace, also designed the gothic detailing on the bridge. It is the oldest bridge in central London.
Samuel Scott (1702-1772) painted Westminster Bridge 1745 in 1758. Scott was a British landscape painter, specializing in seascapes and riverside views. His skill earned him the nickname "The English Canaletto" after Venetian landscapist Giovanni Canal (1697-1768). His painting had been part of Robert Vernon's collection, which was bequeathed to the National Gallery in 1845. James B. Allen (1803-1876) was one of several artists who worked on engraving works from the collection for publication. He was part of a school of engravers in Birmingham who were working with iron and steel.
- Naomi Bean