Windsor Bridge from the West is a watercolour painting by Paul Sandby from the mid 18th century. It depicts the lively nature of the town showing lots of movement by people and horses. The most interesting aspect of the painting is the precision and attention to detail with which it has been painted compared to other watercolours from the same time.
We see the timber bridge extend across the river in the centre of the composition. There are two main houses at the sides of each bridge balancing out the painting. Sandby made a few versions with slight variations in detail. It is not known whether the painting in the Eton College Collection was the first one he made.
Windsor was one of Sandby’s favourite places to paint, where he produced watercolours of Common Lane in Eton, Windsor Castle, and views of Eton College Chapel. Many of his paintings of Windsor buildings and the surrounding landscape have ended up in the Royal Library.
I like the active and slightly chaotic nature of the painting which draws my attention to particular parts of the canvas. Sandby included lots of small details to make the atmosphere of the painting more interesting, as you can see on top of the bridge where a man has been thrown off his horse and is now chasing it before it gets away. Also, he has captured the reflection of the scene in the water very precisely which adds to the depth of the image.
By Ollie Stanley (NCWS)