Rushbury, Henry George (‘Harry’): London Bridge


Marked ‘1st state’, a superbly detailed etching of the east side of the old ‘new’ London Bridge demolished in 1967 and showing the warehouses and shipping on the north bank, signed in pencil and framed. The etching is being cleaned to remove the slight foxing shown on the image.

The tall building next to the bridge remains standing, ‘Adelaide House’ on King William Street is a Grade II listed office building which, when completed in 1925, was the City’s tallest office block (at 43 metres). As illustrated in the etching, London Bridge Wharf stood below it and was later incorporated into New Fresh Wharf, before being redeveloped in the late 1970s.

Artist: Sir Henry George ‘Harry’ Rushbury, (1889-1968)

Title and date: London Bridge, 1939

Size: 25.4 x 28.0 cms.


Artist description:

An English painter and a superb etcher, Harry Rushbury was the son of a clerk in Harborne, Birmingham and from 13, he studied on a scholarship under Robert Catterson Smith at the Birmingham School of Art. He worked as an assistant to Henry Payne, chiefly as a stained-glass artist until 1912, when he moved to London sharing lodgings with fellow Birmingham student, Gerald Brockhurst.

Rushbury was an official war artist during the First World War and took up etching and drypoint under the influence of Francis Dodd, before studying briefly under Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art in 1921. He was elected a member of the New English Art Club in 1917, the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in 1921, the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1922, and the Royal Academy in 1936.

In 1940 he was again appointed an official war artist and in 1949, he was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy and Head of the Royal Academy Schools, a post he held until 1964. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1964 New Year Honours. There is a memorial to Harry Rushbury in St James’s Church, Piccadilly.