A View of the Waterloo Bridge
Coloured aquatintpublished 5 December 1817
About the work
Place: British Embassy, UK representation to the EU & UK delegation to NATO
This view shows the original Waterloo Bridge, designed by the Scottish civil engineer John Rennie (1761–1821) and built in 1817. Its name memorialised the victory of the British, Prussians and Dutch at Waterloo in 1815. This marked the end of Napoleon’s reign (also known as the First French Empire) and of France’s domination in Europe, This also led to the start of a new era, known as Pax Britannica, which, with few exceptions, was free of military conflict between the major powers.
Horse-drawn carriages and passers-by can be seen crossing the granite bridge with nine arches. In the foreground, small boats are sailing across the river Thames. Beyond the bridge, a view of London opens up, with the silhouettes of St Paul’s Cathedral and of the Tower of London emerging in the distance.
The old structure of the bridge was replaced in the 1920s by a new one designed by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811–1878). Allowing some of the finest views of London, the bridge has been chosen as a spot for artists including, most notably, John Constable (1776–1837) and Claude Monet (1840–1926).
About the artist
William Anderson, marine painter, was born in Scotland and initially worked as a shipwright. Little is known of his artistic training. He moved to London at about the age of 30, where he exhibited works at the Royal Academy from 1787 to 1834. There is also little information on his private life. However, he is known to have had a son, William Guido Anderson, who joined the Royal Navy. Although Anderson is best known for his small, highly finished marine paintings, particularly river scenes, he also painted other subjects. Today his works can be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
Matthew Dubourg was a London-based aquatint engraver of sporting, military and topographical views, made after works by contemporary artists. He often collaborated with the draughtsman and aquatint engraver John Clark. Dubourg exhibited two miniature portraits at the Royal Academy in 1786 and 1797, when his address was 17 Duke Street, off Manchester Square. He later exhibited a ‘Scene near Vauxhall’ at the Academy in 1808, by which time he had moved to 22 East Street, Lambeth.