The Putney Bridge (Whistler added “Old” to the title) crossed the Thames between Fulham and Putney. Built in 1738, the bridge was replaced six years after Whistler produced this etching. The artist sketched the studies for this print en plein air, in a boat on the river itself. It is possible that the bow just visible to the right of the couple’s rowboat was in fact Whistler’s own vessel in a. spot on the Thames ideal for viewing boat races.
Whistler executed several studies of bridges, particularly those located on the River Thames, in a variety of media, including etching, lithography, pastels, and paint. The artist’s interest in these subjects may have been to capture the older structures before they were razed in the late nineteenth century.
Knoedler number verso, usually indicating a print sold directly by Whistler to the dealer;
Apparent collector’s abbreviation verso in pencil, “J. Aro.”;
Private collection, U.S.A.; ca. 1972 to
David Tunick, Inc.; 2008 to
Private collection, New York
Kennedy 178, third state of four;
Glasgow 185, state indeterminate, probably final – seven of seven, although with certain characteristics of the earliest states, e.g., the curved slipped stroke over the head of the man in the boat