See Putney Bridge 250 Years Ago

Painting part of sale celebrating Kings Road store Guinevere's 50th anniversary

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Guinevere: Celebrating 50 Years


Paintings by Joseph Nicholls


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If you have £20,000 to £30,000 to invest, you could become the new owner of this fascinating mid-18th century painting of an earlier version of Putney Bridge.

The painting is being offered during the sale: Guinevere: Celebrating 50 Years which will be held in auctioneer Christie's South Kensington saleroom on March 19.

Guinevere Antiques, in Kings Road, is one of Fulham's most iconic stores, well known to local people for its ever changing front windows.

Christie's catalogue describes the painting as:

English School, mid-18th Century
A view of the Thames at Putney Bridge, from the Fulham bank, with the Swan Inn

Oil on canvas, 36.1/8 x 47.1/8 in. (91.8 x 119.7 cm.)
in a contemporary English giltwood and gesso frame
estimate: £20,000 – 30,000

The catalogue also contains these fascinating historical details:

The timber bridge depicted in this painting was the first bridge to span the stretch of the Thames between London Bridge and Kingston.

An act of Parliament, supported by the then Prime Minister Robert Walpole, was passed in 1726 to build a bridge to link the town of Fulham on the north bank of the Thames with that of Putney on the south bank.

The Fulham Bridge as it was then known was opened in 1729. It was a toll bridge with the stone toll-house at the north end of the bridge clearly visible in the foreground of this painting as is the bell hanging from its arch which was added the year after the bridge was completed so that the toll collectors could raise the alarm when they were attacked by highwaymen or unruly travellers.

Remarkably this wooden structure survived, although not unscathed as it piers suffered various collisions and repairs, into the 1880s by which time it was administered by The Metropolitan Board of Works who took the decision to replace it.

A worthy successor was designed by the great urban planner and civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette (1819-1891) whose Cornish granite five-span bridge was opened in 1886 and remains one of London's key arteries today.

Whilst the artist of the present work has not been conclusively identified, a possible attribution to Joseph Nicholls (1726-1755) has been suggested.

The sale itself celebrates not only marks the first half-century of Guinevere Antiques, but also celebrates the memory of its founder Genevieve Weaver, whose personal collection is included in the auction.

Today the business is run by Genevieve's sons, Marc and Kevin, who says: " It is twelve years since Genevieve passed away en route to a buying trip in China and we have kept her collection until now. Almost everything she bought was with the shop window in mind, she found it difficult to part with certain items, hence her personal collection grew.

" We know that Genevieve would be pleased to celebrate 50 years of business with such a spectacular sale to mark the occasion, and we think she would want her collection to be part of this celebration."


February 28, 2013