Catalogue entry

N05256 THE BRIDGE 1887–8

Inscr. ‘P W Steer’ b.l.
Canvas, 19 1/2×25 3/4 (49·5×65·5).
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1941.
Coll: Ellen M. Cobden (Mrs Walter Sickert); Mrs T. J. Cobden-Sanderson; R. Cobden-Sanderson, sold Christie's, 2 August 1940 (75), bt. Lessore; Leicester Galleries.
Exh: Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, April–July 1888 (105), as ‘The Bridge’; Les XX, Brussels, 1889 (Steer 2), as ‘Le Pont’; New Year Exhibition, Leicester Galleries, January 1941 (47), as ‘The Bridge, Étaples’; National Gallery, June–August 1943 (72); Tate Gallery, November–December 1960 (5).
Lit: MacColl, 1945, pp.26, 189; John Rothenstein, Modern English Painters: Sickert to Smith, 1952, p.64.
Repr: Studio, CXXII, 1941, p.65; Ironside, 1943, pl.9.

Known also as ‘The Bridge, Étaples’, the evidence for the identification of the location has been questioned by Bruce Laughton, who points out that early photographs of Walberswick estuary show a wooden footbridge over Dunwick Creek. A small panel (coll. Louis van Praagh), inscribed on the back ‘Étaples 1880s’, appears to be a first thought for this composition, but although both paintings show the back view of a girl leaning on a railing, the view from the bridge is not the same.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II