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Old Bridge over the Kelvin

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Old Bridge over the Kelvin

Old Bridge over the Kelvin, at the Great Western Road, 1888 by William Simpson (1823-1899).

Simpson returned to Glasgow in 1888 as a "Special Artist" working for the Illustrated London News reporting on the International Exhibition of that year. Hearing that work was proceeding on a new bridge at Great Western Road he went to have a look and produced the sketch on which this watercolour is based. The oldest bridge, to the right, was built in the early 19th century at the old Hillhead Ford. The cottage at its eastern end was built for the tollkeeper. A second bridge was added in 1840 to carry Great Western Road across the river. Both were removed in 1890 to make way for the third bridge, erected 1889-1891. Simpson's painting shows stonemasons working for the contractors Morrison & Mason (left) dressing stone blocks and erecting parapets for the latest bridge. Lansdowne United Presbyterian Church stands out on the far side of the bridges.

This watercolour is one of fifty-five painted by Simpson between 1893 and 1898. The series is based on sketches he completed fifty years earlier and which appeared as black and white illustrations in Views and Notices of Glasgow in Former Times, published in 1848 by Allan & Ferguson, but this watercolour is one of the exceptions.

Reference: 892ap/ 1889.2.ap

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Allan & Ferguson, bridges, churches, Great Western Bridge, Lansdowne Parish Church, Lansdowne United Free Church, Lansdowne United Presbyterian Church, Old Bridge over the Kelvin at Great Western Road, 1888, River Kelvin, stonemasons, tollkeepers' cottages, watercolours, workmen

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