Monday, 27 February 2017

The River Thames in 11 colour paintings .... no 2 Old Battersea Bridge

Now I suppose we all have our favourite bridge over the Thames.

Nocturne in Black & Gold the Falling Rocket, 1872-75
Most tourists will go for Tower Bridge while many commuters will opt for London Bridge while for me it will always be the Hungerford Bridge just because it is the one I cross when I am on the train for Eltham.

Even now over 40 years after I left London I only ever feel I have really come home when the train pulls over the River into Waterloo Station, which I suppose just goes to prove that old corny comment that you “can take the boy out of South east London but you never take south east London our of the boy.”

Which I might add is pretty much uttered by everyone I know about where they come from.

That said I also have fond memories of the old London Bridge which I used a lot in the 1950s and 60s.

And that by degree brings me to another old bridge which is the subject of the painting.

It is the Old Battersea Bridge, opened in 1771 and demolished in 1885.  The full title of the painting is Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket and it was painted by Whistler between 1872-5 and led to a court case at which the judge according to one source asked Whister “Which part of the picture is the bridge?.”

It went long before I was born and if I am honest I don’t think I have ever been on its successor.

But no matter there are plenty still for me  to cross although this is the last bridge that I will feature from my new book..

It is not that I have tired of either the Thames or its bridges, but more I want to post the book on  to my friend Tricia.

The book is River Thames which came out sometime in the late 1930s.

There is no publication date, although inside there is a sentiment “to Edith with best wishes from Edna Christmas 1940” and one of the illustrations is dated 1934 so I think we almost have a date.

The book was sent to me by Kath who has also supplied me with many pictures of Eltham and who suggested that when I had finished with it I should send it back south to Tricia who is also a keen historian of Eltham’s past.

And that is what I intend to do.

Location; River Thames

Picture; Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket,  James McNeill Whistler   1872-75


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