Westminster Bridge, the Surrey Side

Samuel Scott (British, London ca. 1702–1772 Bath)
ca. 1750
Watercolor and black chalk, with touches of pen and ink
sheet: 9 3/8 x 34 1/4 in. (23.8 x 87 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and PECO Foundation and Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation Gifts, 2010
Accession Number:
Not on view
Scott specialized in marines and views of the Thames, and this panoramic wash drawing offers fascinating insights into his working process. Executed on several joined sheets of paper, it approximates the scale of many of the artist's paintings and depicts London's Westminster Bridge shortly before its November 1750 opening. Scott drew and painted the bridge from many vantage points during its eleven-year construction and kept the drawings for reference. To make the present work he positioned himself near the Southwark bank, looking upriver. Carefully observed details were combined with subtle washes applied to record light and shade. A ramshackle timber yard at left was one of many along the river. Busy ferrymen in the foreground use a new landing beyond the bridge, but will lose much of their trade once the span opens.
Sir John Alexander Ewart (British, born India); Hector Munro, Baron Munro of Langholm, MP (Scottish); Sale Thomson Roddick & Medcalf, purchased by Andrew Wyld; Vendor: W.S Fine Art Ltd. / Andrew Wyld (British)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 4, 2011–June 12, 2011.