The painting was written shortly after the arrival of Canaletto to England, coinciding with the completion of the construction of the Westminster Bridge across the Thames. Apparently, she was commissioned by the fan of his talent Sir Hugh Smithson, who invested a lot of money in this construction. Canaletto was not limited to one species – this bridge again and again arises on its landscapes.
The unusual composition of this picture is strictly verified. Instead of showing the bridge from afar, Canaletto literally “enters” into its arch, which becomes the natural frame of the picture. The angle is close to the surface of the water, which makes it seem that you are in a boat floating under the bridge.
The huge dimensions of the bridge are felt almost physically, which is facilitated by a tiny bucket hanging from the bridge. The opening view of London is striking in its scale. Most buildings seem to be “fading”; it is easy to recognize only two architectural monuments – not long before this built St. Paul’s Cathedral and water tower.