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This picture was strongly attacked by the critics when it was first exhibited in 1887, and dismissed by one as 'either a deliberate daub or so much mere midsummer madness'. Steer considered giving up painting in the wake of this disapproval. With its exploitation of the creamy fluency of oil paint, its atmospheric lighting and subdued colouring, 'The Bridge' is like Whistler's landscapes he called 'Nocturnes'. It was unusual in London at the time for its lack of detail, and for the uncertainly about its subject. The view is probably at Walberswick in Suffolk.

September 2004