William Havell

Caversham Bridge


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Not on display

William Havell 1782–1857
Oil paint on paper on wood
Support: 276 × 219 mm
Purchased 1968

Display caption

A native of the Thames Valley, Havell painted a number of views of it in oil and watercolour from 1805, often working in the open air. This sketch is among his earliest Thames subjects, painted in the same year as JMW Turner's campaign of outdoor sketching along the Thames. Like some of Turner's small sketches on mahogany, it establishes within a very small compass the essential structure of a classical composition with overhanging trees and a bridge in the middle distance.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

William Havell 1782–1857
Inscribed on verso: ‘Caversham Bridge over the Thames near Reading, Berks. by W. Havell 1805.’
Oil on paper, 10 7/8×8 5/8 (27·6×21·9), laid on panel.
Purchased from Spink & Son Ltd (Grant-in-Aid) 1968.
Coll: ...; F T Sabin, who sold it to Spink & Son Ltd.

Caversham Bridge figures prominently in Havell's work between 1805 and 1812. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a large water-colour of it dated 1805 (no. 766–1894, repr. Adrian Bury, ‘William Havell, 1782–1857’, in The Connoisseur, CXXIV, 1949, p. 107), and five views of the bridge or of other parts of Caversham were among Havell's exhibits at the Society of Painters in Water Colours between 1808 and 1812. The bridge also appears in the collection of aquatints after his drawings, A Series of Picturesque Views of the River Thames, published in 1812. A scrapbook of drawings by Havell sold at Christie's on 22 April 1969 (120) contained what appeared to be a sketch either for T01095 or for one of Havell's water-colours of Caversham Bridge.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery: Acquisitions 1968-9, London 1969

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