John Thirtle (British, 1777–1839)

Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich, from the south

18 thirtle_18 thirtle_-800


Brown wash over traces of pencil with scratching out and touches of gum arabic, signed or inscribed in pen and brown ink verso: Bishop Bridge/Norwich/, Thirtle, inscribed on old mount: Bishop’s gate/Norwich./Thurtell

10 x 20.9 cm

Thirtle drew Bishop’s Bridge on many occasions. He exhibited the subject four times with the Norwich Society in 1806 (101), 1807 (36), 1811 (138) and 1817 (62). Five other views of the bridge are recorded: see Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, John Thirtle 1777–1839, 1977, pp. 44-5.

Bishop’s Bridge over the Wensum is the only remaining medieval bridge in Norwich and was so named because it led directly to the Bishop’s Palace. It was probably built after 1275, when a patent was granted to the Prior to erect a gate ‘with a bridge 20 feet broad thereto adjoining’. It was controlled by the bishops until 1393, and later a rectangular tower was constructed which occupied most of the western half of the bridge; this was demolished at the end of the eighteenth century. The range of early gabled buildings to the north of the bridge were demolished in 1878; the Red Lion pub is still there today.

Provenance: Augusta Raymond-Barker, Fairford Park, Gloucestershire; thence by family descent until 2016