Monday, 22 December 2008
Old Drawings #25
High Level Bridge (Charcoal, pastel on cartridge paper)
I'm guessing 1995 again. I remember exaggerating the height of the bridge a little to make it fit the square - I'd just discovered the square format and was determined to make everything square.
The High Level was designed by Robert Stephenson and is the first major example of a wrought iron bow-string girder bridge in the world. It's probably my favourite of all the bridges over the Tyne (there are 12 in all) and is certainly the one I've painted most - I love the way its rectilinear profile fits the picture plane.
It's been closed to traffic since 2005 because, of course, in addition to the rail traffic on the upper deck, it was built to accommodate Victorian horse-drawn transport and years of heavy motorised transport had taken their toll. As a Grade I listed structure, there were strictures on how it might be repaired. The road bed, for instance, had to be completely replaced, along with a number of the girders which had corroded, and this had to be done with sympathetic materials. After a £42m refit it opened again this year, with traffic restricted to buses and taxis, going one way only (Newcastle to Gateshead).