Charing Cross Bridge

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 348
Date: 1887/1888
Medium: etching
Size: 133 x 97 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.310; M.306
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


bridge, cab, city, horse, park, people, railway, river, steamboat, tree.


There are two possible titles plus variant punctuation, as follows:

'Charing Cross Bridge' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'Charing Cross Bridge' (1888, R.B.A.). 3
'Charing Cross Railway Bridge' (1900, Caxton Club). 4
'Charing Cross Railway-Bridge' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5

Whistler's original title, 'Charing Cross Bridge', is preferred.

2: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.

3: London RBA 1888a (cat. no. 262).

4: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 284).

5: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 306).


A view over the Embankment to the River Thames. In the foreground there is a young tree to left of centre, then there are people in the park beyond, horses and cabs on the road along the river-side and, at far right, a steamboat-landing. In the distance is Charing Cross Railway Bridge, with a crane at the far end of the bridge, on the right. Beyond it there are buildings and chimneys on the horizon.


The railway bridge across the River Thames, at Charing Cross in London, from a terrace overlooking the Thames Embankment. It was described in the News of the World as 'a view of "Charing Cross Bridge" from Adelphi-Terrace. 6

The bridge was known as Hungerford or Charing Cross Bridge. In 1859 the Charing Cross Railway Act authorised the building of a railway to cross the Thames by a bridge at or near the site of Charing Cross Bridge. The new railway bridge was begun in 1860 and opened early in 1864, with provision being made at the side for pedestrian traffic. 7

Whistler painted a delicate, misty watercolour of Hungerford bridge (Blue and Silver: The Thames [m0875]) in 1882 from the apartment of Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) in Westminster. He also drew a similar view in the lithograph, Charing Cross Railway Bridge [c157], in 1896.

6: 'Society of British Artists. ...' News of the World, 11 March 1888 (GUL PC9/70)

7: 'Hungerford or Charing Cross Bridge', Survey of London: volume 23: Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall (1951), p. 55; (accessed 2009).

Comparative image
Charing Cross Railway Bridge [c157], 1896, lithograph,
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC.


This is the last in a long series of etchings of the Thames bridges including Old Westminster Bridge [47], Vauxhall Bridge [75], Westminster Bridge in Progress [77], Old Hungerford Bridge [76], Chelsea Bridge and Church [102], London Bridge [172], Under Old Battersea Bridge [168], Old Putney Bridge [185], Little Putney Bridge [186] and Old Battersea Bridge [188].
The very slender tree in the foreground is similar to that in another etching of similar date, The Young Tree [285].