Hungerford Bridge c.1845. Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot, Museum of London
Starting on the 27th June is an exciting new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands entitled Bridge.
Last week there was an announcement that one of its highlights will be an extremely rare photograph of Old Hungerford Bridge taken by the photography pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot in 1845.
Brunel’s Hungerford Bridge was at 1,462 feet long, one of the longest suspension bridges built at the time. However Londoners did not have long to admire his handiwork because Brunel’s bridge was demolished within fifteen years to make way for a railway crossing.
It is the oldest photograph in the considerable Museum of London collection and will only be displayed under certain conditions due to its fragile nature.
Fox Talbot only began to perfect his process in 1845 and this delicate salt print has been considered too historically valuable to risk showing on public display before.
The Museum are taking no chances and have issued the following
Early photographs are extremely fragile. For conservation reasons this photograph will be displayed in strictly controlled lighting conditions, where visitors will be invited to press a button to illuminate it to minimise unnecessary exposure to light.
It will be on public display for one month only.
Other than the Fox Talbot photograph, there are a large number of other photographs on display both contemporary and historical artworks.
Like the Fox Talbot photograph, some chart some of the London Bridges creation and demolition.
Old Waterloo Bridge under demolition Gelatin silver print, made 1936 © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London
Lower Pool, with Tower Bridge under construction © Museum of London
Henry Flather (1839-1901) The Construction of the Metropolitan District Railway Albumen print, made around 1868 Waterloo Bridge appears stranded in Flather’s extraordinary photograph, almost as if it has been thrown up during the excavations. The photograph was taken from a point west of the bridge, at the foot of Savoy Street, during the construction of the Metropolitan District Railway and Victoria Embankment. This is one of 64 photographs taken in the late 1860s by Flather to document the project. This photograph will be displayed behind a screen to protect it from unnecessary exposure to light, which could damage it. © Henry Flather/Museum of London
Looking southwest from Lower Custom House Stairs. Photograph by George Davison Reid. 1920-1933. Museum of London
If these are the calibre of photographs at the exhibition, it will definitely be one not to miss.
Bridge at the Museum of London Docklands will features paintings, prints, drawings, etchings, photography and film. The exhibition opens at the Museum of London Docklands on Friday 27 June 2014. Entrance is FREE.