The present picture is a fine record of a much loved London landmark. Kew Bridge was re-built several times, that depicted by Webb being the second version constructed in 1783. The stone bridge was officially opened in 1789 by King George III who crossed it 'with a great concourse of carriages'. In 1873, it was sold to the Metropolitan Board of Works who subsequently abolished the toll, much to the delight of the locality. Webb shows us the bridge in 1874: surely it was the extensive celebrations the previous year that drew the attention of local artists. Yet by 1899 it was announced that it would be reconstructed once again so as to create a more spacious crossing for pedestrians and an easier passage for boats. Such was the public outcry that a whole article in the Art Journal of the same year was devoted to its defence. The author concludes his diatribe with 'the most beautiful feature of the upper tideway must disappear - and so aestheticism goes down before the practical'.