Monday, November 08, 2010

Picture quiz: when was this?

Another picture puzzle.

One of the things I was in Shrewsbury for was this oil picture, which is clearly Putney Embankment. The question is can you gleam clues from it as to when it was painted? Nearest decade will do.

Knowing the big brains out there I might even wonder if you could get the school of art involved.


O Docker said...

Wild guess - around 1885, mainly from the style of painting.

The railings appear to be metal, and I'd guess much earlier and they would have been wooden. Much later, and there probably would have been powered boats on the river. I think I see only sailboats. Style of dress of the foreground figure seems about right.

Don't know the area well enough to recognize architectural clues, but there are probably buildings (or bridges?) missing from this view whose age would help set the period.

Tillerman said...

I was driving along there a few minutes ago and the tree in your painting looks very much like the one opposite the Putney Bridge Club. It even leans the same way. So I don't think it is all that long ago. But then a lot of trees lean.

However I noticed that the railings in your picture are not the modern day ones. Probably were replaced for some safety reasons. I seem to remember being there in 1958 in a flood and standing on railings that look like the ones in your picture. (That's me third from the right.) But that doesn't pin it down very much.

However I do think it's a bit later than the 1885 suggested by the usually well-informed O Docker. Aren't those red London buses on the bridge? Could be a clue.

So I'm going to make a wild guess and say 20th century. Am I right?

JP said...

Yes, buses are a clue, which indeed put it into the 20th century.

Tillerman said...

Woohoo. I win again. What's my prize?

Tillerman said...

It's a bit hard to see but if those really are red double-decker buses, that puts the date after the early 1950s according to this site.

Tillerman said...

Back in July JP posted this picture which is I believe looking in the same direction from the painting, but of course from a different vantage point on the river.

The monstrous tower on the right is, I think, called Putney Wharf Tower. Now, in the painting I don't see that glazed circular frontage, but I do see a red tower of some kind.

Now the red tower was known as ICL Tower and was built in the 1960's. The addition of the glazed frontage was early in this century, I think.

So that would place the painting in the era 1960-2000.

How am I doing JP?

By the way, O Docker, I think the sailing boats may be a red herring as far as date is concerned. JP's blog often has current photos of sailing boats in that rough location.

O Docker said...

Hmm, ran this through Photoshop at work and the color's a lot brighter than I thought. The brown blobs do look like red busses. Paint texture is easier to see, too - maybe not done with a brush? Pretty clearly a modern painting, though.

Tillerman said...

I wish I could find the date when those old railings were replaced.

Baydog said...

I wish I could find the date when those old places were rerailed.

Cyrille Hydrogene said...

The picture wasn't painted, it's a photo, taken by a Canon Eos 350. The problem is the picture was shot TODAY, a few hours after JP posted his puzzle. This is very weird.

Word verification: petstism: a new religion involving dogs and cats.

Tillerman said...

Cyrille - do you mean that JP traveled to the future to take this photo?

Word verification: crumarma - motherly woman who likes to crew.

Tillerman said...

Hmmm. No word from JP today. He must be at tomorrow again.

JP said...

Nah, just busy, work etc

And Tillerman's right: the red double decker buses put it post 1950 and the lack of buildings in the background means it can't be much later.

Will post again but have a third picture puzzle

Tillerman said...

OK. I think the view or lack of view of the ICL Building/ Putney Wharf Tower is an important clue. I'm not sure what I'm seeing in this fuzzy picture near the right end of the bridge. If it's not the ICL Tower then this places the painting in the 1950's.