A View of London Bridge before the late Alteration as in the Year 1760
Coloured engravingpublished 25 February 1761
About the work
While the foreground of this engraving shows men working aboard a variety of boats and vessels on the River Thames, the work is dominated by a view of London Bridge. The bridge is shown it as it appeared in the mid-18th century, when it was crowded with houses and towers, several storeys high. The year 1760 included in the lettering of this print, indicates that the bridge is shown just prior to the structural changes it underwent between 1758 and 1762. During this period the houses were removed and the two central arches were replaced by a single span.
A slightly earlier version of this print is titled 'A View of London Bridge before the late Alteration as in the year 1757' (see GAC 5151).
About the artist
Engraver Pierre [Peter] Charles Canot is thought to have been born in France in c.1710; the brother of painter Philippe Canot. He was presumably in London by c.1735, when he produced hunting prints after paintings by John Wootton. A further set of prints, after marine works painted by Peter Monamy, were published in 1746. In 1758 he began a lasting collaboration with marine artist Richard Paton. The outbreak of the Seven Years' War brought commissions for depictions of the many naval engagements. He exhibited 19 works at the Society of Artists from 1760 to 1769 and was elected one of the original associate engravers of the Royal Academy in 1770, exhibiting there until 1776. Canot died at his home in Hampstead Road, in the winter of 1777-78.
Samuel Scott, marine and topographical painter, was born in London in c.1702. His early subjects were marine scenes and naval engagements, painted in the style of the van de Veldes. However, following Antonio Canaletto's visit to the capital in 1746, Scott was influenced by the growing popularity of the Venetian artist's views of London and the Thames and devoted himself almost exclusively to this subject. Scott's London views became particularly popular. Unlike other imitators of Canaletto, he avoided the Venetian artist's permanent Venetian blue skies. He settled in the fashionable writers' and artists' village of Twickenham but later moved to Bath, where he died.