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The Opening of Waterloo Bridge ('Whitehall Stairs, June 18th, 1817')

Photo credit: Tate

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Over seven feet in length, this is the largest of Constable's exhibition canvases and the result of 13 years of planning. It commemorates the opening of Waterloo Bridge - and the second anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – on 18 June 1817, an occasion celebrated with tremendous pomp and ceremony which Constable attempted to recapture in a whole series of drawings and oil sketches, dating from 1819 onwards. Constable moved from Suffolk to London in 1817 and presumably witnessed the festivities, but it was another two years before he conceived the idea of capturing the event on canvas. The subject offered Constable, a staunch royalist, the opportunity to record for posterity a significant historical occasion.

Tate Britain

London


Date

exhibited 1832

Medium

Oil on canvas

Measurements

H 130.8 x W 218 cm

Accession number

T04904

Acquisition method

Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Clore Foundation, the Art Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and others 1987

Work type

Painting


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Tate Britain

Millbank, London, Greater London SW1P 4RG England

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