In celebration of the 120th anniversary of London’s iconic Tower Bridge, this summer, the Museum of London Docklands opens a new, free exhibition – Bridge.

Opening on 27 June 2014, Bridge is the largest art exhibition ever to be staged at the Museum of London Docklands. Drawing on the museum’s significant art collections, the exhibition will feature rarely seen contemporary and historical artworks, alongside photography, film and maquettes to consider the significance of bridges within London’s landscape.

From Hungerford to Blackfriars, Westminster and Millennium, Bridge also looks at how London’s bridges allow people to move around and experience the city. Thomas Heatherwick’s ambitious ‘Garden Bridge’ proposal, playing with the ideas of destination and crossing will feature, along with other debates and issues confronting London and its bridges today.

Exhibition highlights from the Museum of London collections include:

  • Ewan Gibbs, ‘London’ (linocut), 2007
  • Christopher Nevinson, ‘Waterloo Bridge from Blackfriars’ (pen and ink), 1927
  • Charles Ginner, ‘London Bridge’ (oil on canvas), 1913
  • Christina Broom, ‘Tower Bridge’ (glass negative), c.1910
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler, ‘Old Westminster Bridge’ (etching), 1859
  • Giovanni Battista Piranesi, ‘A view of the intended bridge at Blackfriars, London’ (etching), 1766
  • Crispin Hughes, ‘Hungerford Bridge’ (colour coupler print), 2006
  • Suki Chan, ‘Film Still’ (lightbox) 2011

The Museum of London’s Senior Curator, Francis Marshall, said: “To cross a London bridge is to really see the city. London’s bridges give a view of the capital impossible to appreciate from its jumbled medieval street plan. Most of the time we are in a maze of streets and the city reveals itself in fragments. On a bridge, however, the full iconic panorama is laid out. And no one sums up this idea better than William Wordsworth in his sonnet, Upon Westminster Bridge.”*

Bridge follows the museum’s 2013 exhibition, Estuary, which looked at artists’ responses to the outer edges of the Thames. Bridge sees the museum journey along the river and into the heart of London to explore how bridges influence our visual sense of the city and provide a source of inspiration for artists and photographers.

Museum of London’s Director Sharon Ament said: “London’s bridges are multifaceted in their form and function. They are among the city’s most compelling iconic designs. Tower Bridge’s unmistakable silhoutte is an image synonmous with London; just like the Eiffel Tower screams Paris. Yet bridges are also crucial to the way in which people move about the city and offer unique vantage points for seeing – and feeling – the capital. Bridge at the Museum of London Docklands will celebrate the many different aspects of London’s bridges through the eyes of some of the capital’s most exciting artists and photographers, both past and present.”

Bridge features paintings, prints, drawings, etchings, photography, film and maquettes. The exhibition opens at the Museum of London Docklands on Friday 27 June 2014. Entrance is free. The exhbition will be supported by a series of family activities and late night events in partnership with The School of Life.

The Museum of London holds a richly diverse art and photography collection dating from 1500 to the present day. The collection encompasses works by artists including William Hogarth, Roger Fenton, Walter Richard Sickert, Bill Brandt, Henry Moore and Tracey Emin and paints a vivid
picture of London’s visual history.