William P. Sherlock (British, b.c.1780) Shipping lying in the Thames below Old London Bridge 57.2 x 86.3cm. (22 1/2 x 34in.)

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Lot 194
William P. Sherlock
(British, b.c.1780)
Shipping lying in the Thames below Old London Bridge 57.2 x 86.3cm. (22 1/2 x 34in.)

Sold for £ 11,760 (US$ 14,877) inc. premium

Marine

13 Sep 2005, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

William P. Sherlock (British, b.c.1780)
Shipping lying in the Thames below Old London Bridge
signed 'W.P.Sherlock (lower right)
oil on canvas
57.2 x 86.3cm. (22 1/2 x 34in.)

Footnotes

  • The picturesque Old London Bridge immortalised in the well-known seventeenth century nursery rhyme lasted for over six hundred years thanks to endless maintenance, repairs and structural improvements, the last of which were carried out in 1758-62 when the fragile houses which had stood upon it for centuries were finally demolished. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars however, the old bridge could no longer handle the volume of traffic required and, more importantly, its numerous small narrow arches were inhibiting lighters and the larger river craft from getting upstream.

    After much public discussion a new bridge, slightly upstream from the original, was begun in 1823 and eventually opened by King William IV in 1831, at which point the much-loved former structure was finally demolished. In this classic view of the old bridge, the artist shows merchantmen tied up alongside the wharves on both banks of the river and also small boats below it, perhaps making ready to ‘shoot’ the treacherous current which swept through it. Above the scene, the ancient church of St. Magnus the Martyr stands guard at the bridge’s northern end whilst beyond that rises Sir Christopher Wren’s instantly recognisable ‘Monument’ to London’s Great Fire of 1666.
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