The view painted by Anderson celebrates arguably the most celebrated building of the nineteenth century. It is the view looking from the south-side of the Thames towards Charles Barry's Gothic Revival masterpiece the Palace of Westminster with Westminster Abbey beyond. Across the composition stretches Westminster Bridge crowded with pedestrians, omnibuses and carts which mirrors the crowded waterway below with laden barges and passenger steamers jostling for space. Anderson painted several views of the Palace including another of the same aspect entitled Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (London Museum) painted three years after the present view and View of Westminster from the River Thames (Christie’s, 10 June 2003, lot 77).
The Palace of Westminster from the Thames was owned by John Gibson (1817-1892), an architect working around the same time as Anderson who had been assistant to Charles Barry and was therefore personally associated with the creation of the Palace.
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