1862 - 1936
Kingston Bridge

Watercolour and gouache on paper, signed and dated ’09 bottom left
Image size: 11 x 10 1/2 inches (28 x 27 cm)
Hand made contemporary frame


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Painted on his characteristic dark background, this work shows Horrace Mann Livens’ deft use of brushwork and colour.

This is a scene featuring Kingston Bridge, a road bridge at Kingston upon Thames in South West London. Until Putney Bridge opened in 1729, Kingston Bridge was the only crossing of the river between London Bridge and Staines Bridge. The bridge is constructed out of Portland stone and comprises of five elliptical arches. The centre arch encloses a 60 foot span and the side arches are 56 feet and then 52 feet, spanning progressively from the centre.

The bridge was given protection as a Grade II* listed structure in 1951.




Horace Mann Livens

The artist studied with Vincent Van Gogh at the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Antwerp in 1885, where they shared lodgings. Before returning to London in 1890, the young artist continued his studies in Paris, focusing particularly on the work of Manet.

The friendship continued after this sojourn, and Van Gogh famously wrote to Livens in 1886 to discuss his theories on colour: ‘Since I am here in Paris I have very often thought of yourself and work. You will remember that I liked your colour, your ideas on art and literature and I add, most of all your personality.’ (Quoted in A.M. and R. Hammacher, Van Gogh, London, Thames and Husdon, 1982, p.123)

Declining Van Gogh’s invitation to join him in the South of France, Livens exhibited widely in London, showing his talent in subjects ranging from landscapes and studies of poultry to still lives and portraits in a variety of media.

Livens is also noted for having painted the earliest known portrait of Van Gogh by another hand. It was reproduced in a Flemish magazine, but the original has since vanished.