Staines Bridge

  • About the work
    Country: Luxembourg
    City: Luxembourg
    Place: British Embassy

    This aquatint print was issued as a plate to the illustrated book ‘A Picturesque Tour of the River Thames in its Western Course: Including Particular Descriptions of Richmond, Windsor and Hampton Court’, published by Rudolph Ackermann in 1828. The book included a map, several vignettes and 24 coloured views, engraved after original drawings made ‘on the spot’ by artists William Westall and Samuel Owen. The series was published in six parts, released monthly from May 1828. Each part included four colour aquatint views and three or four sheets of descriptive text and cost 14 shillings to subscribers. A few examples of the parts were available on a larger scale, priced at one pound, one shilling.

  • About the artist
    Watercolour painter and engraver Charles Bentley is best-known for painting breezy scenes off the English coast. He was born in London; the son of a master carpenter. Bentley was apprenticed to printmaker Theodore Fielding and later spent time in Paris with Theodore’s brother, watercolourist Newton Fielding. From 1827 Bentley made a modest living as an engraver and illustrator. He was elected a member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours (1843) and exhibited 209 works from 1834 to his death. He was a friend of artist William Callow; with whom he made several sketching trips, including a tour of Normandy (1841). The two shared a home in Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, from 1843 to 1846. Bentley died in Hampstead, at the age of 48.
    William Westall was born in Hertford; the son of a brewer and brother of Richard, RA. He enrolled at the Royal Academy schools in 1799 and was later draughtsman for a voyage to Australia and the South Seas. After being shipwrecked he travelled to Canton in China and to India, staying in Bombay for several months. He returned to England in 1805 but later set off for Madeira and Jamaica. He became a member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours (1811) and an associate of the Academy (1812). Following a mental breakdown he regularly visited the Lake District and published ‘Views of the Valley and Vale of Keswick’ (1820). His series of aquatints of the Thames, universities and public schools for Ackermann are among his most popular works.
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  • Details
    Staines Bridge
    published 1828
    Coloured aquatint
    height: 21.50 cm, width: 29.50 cm
    Purchased from Agnew's, November 1962
    With Agnew’s Gallery, London (Stock No.23030); from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in November 1962
    GAC number