Westminster Bridge – Rare First State

Felix Buhot (1847-1898), Westminster Bridge, etching and drypoint, signed in pencil and inscribed as first state by the artist (1re etat), first state (of 6)(Bourcard/Goodfriend 156). On Japan paper. In very good condition, some very pale foxmarks, pale mat staining, with small margins, 11 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches, the sheet 12 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches.

A very fine impression of this very rare early state (still without any indication of the locomotive in the bottom left remarque, near the tunnel). In this early impression, created before the plate started to show wear, the etching and drypoint lines are quite vivid and delicate.

Provenance: Sold to present owner at Christie’s New York Sale 11/20/89.


Westminster Bridge is one of Buhot’s great masterpieces, created about 12 years after he began printmaking. No one (save, perhaps Degas) used such a range of complex printing techniques as Buhot.

In this first state impression of Westminster Bridge one can see both the finished design, and the beginnings of sketches – particularly in the remarques outside of the central borderline – which were to become further defined in the later states. For example, the outlines of the wooden staircase leading to the Thames are evident at the right. At the top, buildings of Parliament along the Thames are clear, as is the coupole of St. Paul’s; a ship is sketched in at the left. In the main body of the work the carriages are drawn in a rich drypoint with substantial burr, as are the buildings and Big Ben; several people walking near the foreground are only sketched in lightly at this stage.