Kewno's Suspension Bridge over the River Dnieper - Kyiv

WAG 8161


John Cooke Bourne was a painter and lithographer, taught by John Rye, the landscape engraver. Bourne was also influenced by the watercolours of Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman. His landscapes reflected his vision and understanding of the changing landscape brought about by the expansion of railways. Bourne travelled to Russia in 1847 with the engineer Charles Vignoles. Vignoles was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas I to build a bridge across the Dnieper at Kyiv, Ukraine. This is one of serveral watercolours made to show the appearance of the new bridge. The final design had several more linking archways. The faint pencil lines show that a ruler was used in plotting the design. The bridge was started in 1848 and completed in 1853, was destroyed by Polish troops in 1920, rebuilt, and destroyed again by Soviet troops in 1941. On his return to England from Kyiv 12 years later, Bourne became a landscape watercolourist with a modest reputation.