About this artwork

This vibrant little painting shows the view looking south across the recently constructed bridge spanning Edinburgh’s main railway station. Plumes of vapour rise from the steam engines below and various businesses are identified by the signage on their façades. The distinctive spire of St Giles’ Cathedral is silhouetted against an overcast sky at the top. The steep perspective, emphasised by the bridge wall at the left, is typical of Signorini’s cityscapes. Signorini was the most talented and cosmopolitan of a pioneering group of mid-19th-century Italian realist painters known as the Macchiaioli (from the Italian macchia, meaning spot or blot). He travelled often, especially to Paris. This work was painted during his month-long visit to Edinburgh in the summer of 1881. His journal records that he painted on Waverley Bridge on six occasions, so it is highly likely that this view was executed on the spot. With its colourful cast of characters, this is a bustling image of modern urban life reminiscent of Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), and the only surprise is that we are in Edinburgh rather than Paris.

Published January 2023

  • artist:
  • title:
    Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Oil on millboard
  • measurements:
    38.20 x 29.90 cm; framed: 59.70 x 51.80 x 6.50 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with Art Fund support, 2022
  • accession number:
    NG 2891
  • gallery:
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Telemaco Signorini

Telemaco Signorini

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