1874’s Bridge at Hampton Court is unusual for Alfred Sisley in that it contains people, however small, they are at leisure on the far bank of the River Thames.
Sisley’s Impressionist works, which focused on the changeable effects of light, were painted en plein air or in the open air.
A British citizen, Sisley spent most of his life in France but frequently visited his homeland. His emphasis in this work is on the interplay of the shadow of the bridge, the flux of the sky, and the various effects of the light on the rippling water. The water, by virtue of its rippling, further subdivides the perception of light and provides an effect of fullness.
This fullness the water reflects within the pictorial world and the painting reflects about the pictorial world. Just as the water reflects trees, sky, bridge, and light the painting, through the artistic choice of the painter to ‘divide’ and re-combine the notes of light, is full and diverse.
Alfred Sisley’s Bridge at Hampton Court can be found at the Wallraf–Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany.