Barry obviously felt that the neo-classical Westminster Bridge of 1738-50 built by Charles Labelye was out of keeping with his new Houses of Parliament and certainly by 1844 he had designed a new one, which is shown in the engraving. The design differs from the drawing, which appears to be a study in converting the eighteenth-century bridge into a gothic one. The outline sketch on tracing paper, mentioned after the measurements, is a preliminary study for a watercolour by Thomas Allom (1804-1872), which was presented to the Tsar Nicholas I following his visit to London in the summer of 1844. This watercolour is now in the St. Petersburg Academy, Russia. Allom worked with Barry both on the Houses of Parliament and at Highclere Castle (see lot 95).
The present gothic bridge was built from 1854-62 and designed by Thomas Page, with Sir Charles Barry as architectural consultant.
We are grateful to Lady Alexandra Wedgwood for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.