There are numerous printed views of the Britannia and Menai Suspension bridges, published at around the time that the Britannia Bridge opened. However, landscape paintings in oil of the two imposing new constructions were less common.
The artist of this painting is as yet uncertain. However, it may have been painted by Henry Barnard Gray (active 1844-1871). Gray was known during his life as a landscape and sporting painter and exhibited his work in London from 1844 to 1871. In 1850, he exhibited ‘The Britannia Tubular Bridge across the Menai Straits, North Wales’ at the Royal Academy. According to the Academy’s records it was made ‘from sketches made upon the spot at the commencement of raising the first tube’. In the same year, Gray exhibited ‘Study from Nature, near Penryn Castle, North Wales’ at the Society of British Artists and showed a second similar study there in the following year. In 1851, he exhibited a ‘Scene in North Wales’ at the British Institution, followed by ‘Sunset, a Scene on the Menai Straits’ in 1852.
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