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Peta Bridle’s River Etchings

May 11, 2017
by the gentle author

It has been a year since we heard from Peta Bridle, but this week she sent me her latest drypoint etchings, all inspired by the presence of the River Thames – to add to her growing portfolio of London, its culture, people and places

The Old Rose, The Highway, E1 ‘The Old Rose sits alone on a corner of Chigwell Hill, facing the thunder of the traffic along The Highway. A small plaque reads ‘This is the corner of Chigwell Streate 1678’ and at the foot of the hill is Tobacco Dock. The Old Rose closed in 2011 and remains boarded up, but it is a lovely building so I hope it survives.’

Mission House Steps, Gravesend – ‘These worn steps draped in weed belong to the Mission House. Once ‘The Spread Eagle’ a pub, the Mission was set up by a local reverend to cater for the spiritual needs of Gravesend’s waterside and emigrant population in the days families waited here on boats for weeks, preparing to sail to Canada or Australia for a better life.’

Alderman Stairs, E1 – ‘Hidden between two former warehouses lies Alderman Stairs. A narrow passageway leads down to the Thames and out onto a stone pavement. Once a place to hail a boat, the shore is now a quiet place – quite different to the London on land.’

Gallions’ Reach Wreck, North Woolwich – ‘When the docks closed down in the sixties many Thames sailing barges were abandoned along the river. This wreck lies bare to the sky near the mouth of the Royal Albert Dock. Once used to carry building materials, it now holds only quivering grass.’

Gallions’ Reach Wreck, North Woolwich – ‘Close up with twisted nails and timbers shaped by the Thames’

The Devil & Two Women, St Katharine’s Chapel, Limehouse – ‘St Katherine’s Chapel once stood on the riverbank near the Tower of London, but it is now located in Limehouse. Inside the chapel are medieval choir stalls with misericords and this one is of the Devil eavesdropping on two women chatting – the sculptor has captured beautiful detail in their clothing and faces.’ Drawn with kind permission from St Katherines Chapel

Queen Philippa, St Katherine’s Chapel, Limehouse – ‘This carving is of Queen Philippa, who was married to King Edward III. The sculptor has given her a beautiful smile and vivid face. I wonder if the woodcarver found a model or is it a portrait of Queen Philippa?’ Drawn with kind permission from St Katherines Chapel

Finds from the Tower of London beach – ‘Me and my children found these objects on the beach when it was open to the public. Top row, left to right – Medieval camel or sheep on part of a large medieval dish, medieval red pottery with zig-zag design, medieval red London stoneware from a large dish with a rose design. I can fit my thumb exactly into the thumbprint of the potter who made it centuries ago and their fingertips were tiny! Maybe it was a child? Centre row, left to right – Gold, green and blue glaze is still bright on a fragment of pottery, carved bone mount in a tulip design from a box, bearded face from a bartman jug. Bottom row, left to right – Corner of a seventeenth century Dutch tile in gold, white and blue, clay pipe with milled detail around the bowl, London redware storage jar rim from the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, part of an earthenware vessel used in brewing.’

Fly Fishing Flies ‘A selection of fishing flies tied by my Dad and brother’

Prints copyright © Peta Bridle

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Peta Bridle’s London Etchings

16 Responses leave one →
  1. Jim McDermott permalink
    May 11, 2017

    What a wonderful, perceptive talent. I could stare into these works for hours.

  2. May 11, 2017

    The devil looks rather shocked by the women’s conversation. 😉

  3. Shawdian permalink
    May 11, 2017


  4. May 11, 2017

    I like the way the outdoor scenes capture history within a modern context. I also liked Queen Phillipa’s bright face: wonderful carving.

  5. May 11, 2017

    Absolutely lovely work, more please

  6. Jonathan Madden permalink
    May 11, 2017

    These are a lovely series of etchings. The Old Rose Radcliff is particularly poignant, it looks very lonely on its own next to the busy Highway, the only thing it seems useful for is supporting an enormous backlit advertising hoarding that faces to the west. It has some history too, it was an old haunt of Fleet Street journalists during Murdoch’s decampment to Wapping.
    I have done a small painting of the same which can be found on my Instagram page.

  7. Helen Breen permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for yet another view of London from Peta Bridle’s drypoint etchings. Really unique.

    Missing London today…

  8. May 11, 2017

    These are wonderful. Would love to see more, perhaps of the Isle of Grain, and Cooling, that anglo-taxon shore beyond Gravesend. thank you Peta and Gentle Author, one of my continuing faves.

  9. May 11, 2017

    Such mastery of her technique – these images are so evocative. The two concluding images
    are vivid reminders of the fascination of “small things” and how these saved treasures
    become talismans. Skill and soul, side by side.

  10. May 11, 2017

    I love these, the very essence of the river.

  11. May 11, 2017

    Her etchings are wonderful. Valerie

  12. Jacob permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Wow! These etchings are amazing. Hope to see more of her drawings!

  13. Daisy permalink
    May 12, 2017

    I love these etchings.
    So much talent and detail, as always.

  14. May 15, 2017

    What beautiful etchings, Peta. Your work has developed so much and yet it is still how I remember it at heart. I love the ones of the wreck on the river and Queen Phillippa and the little found objects. A real pleasure to see them.

  15. Janes Ford permalink
    February 7, 2019

    Great to see places we know but seen in a different perspective.
    An update on The Old Rose.
    Developers are going to incorporate it in a new development.
    So it will be open once again.

  16. PETER WHEELER permalink
    February 7, 2019

    I love these etchings. My memories of playing down by the river and docks of Bermondsey with my brother in the late forties and early fifties are in black and white in my mind. It was a very drab time and these etchings give a similar feeling of that era.

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