Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts

Photograph of a boy in a classroom in front of a painting easel learning


We can learn a bit about who painted it, what kind of scene they painted and whether the city still looks like this today. Then, it's your turn to explore more about your favourite places or make a craft inspired by this painting.


By Henry Rushbury (1889-1968)
Watercolour, ink and pencil on paper
Glen Bott Collection, University of Nottingham

This is a view of London from the famous river, the River Thames. The artist who painted it was called Henry Rushbury and he was a master of painting this type of scenery. We call this scene an urban scene.

Can you guess why it's called an urban scene?

The painting has one building that is the focus. This building is in the centre of the painting and is called the old Custom House. This is similar to paintings made by another artist called Canaletto. Canaletto was an older painter who lived before Henry Rushbury. Sometimes in paintings we see how old painters gave younger painters ideas and inspired their painting technique.

It is a bit like your old brother or sister, mum or dad, grandparent or teacher might show you something and you learn from them.

Full image of Henry Rushbury's watercolour of the urban landscape of London across the Thames with the Custom House in the middlen and boats in the foreground on the river

Click on the picture to open up a bigger view.

London looks very different today than when Henry Rushbury painted it. Henry Rushbury painted this in 1932 which was 88 years ago. That is almost as old as the queen!

This painting helps us to see what London looked like many years ago. Many of these buildings, including the church towers and the Port Authority Building have either been damaged by World War II, the Great Fire of London or are hidden behind new buildings. Today, there are buildings that have been built that change what we can see in this painting. These buildings have interesting names, including: the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, the Salesforce Tower.

Can you think about why these buildings have unusual names, like ‘Gherkin’ and ‘Cheesegrater’?

If you really like this painting and would like to see more of Henry Rushbury's artwork, you can find more on Art UK'S website here.


Have you got some memories of a place you visited with your family or with a friend? Maybe you could have a look through some old photos (or even paintings) or places that you still visit today. Have they changed? Or are they still the same?


Have a go at making a craft inspired by Henry Rusbury's painting. We can see many boats on the River Thames so have a go at making a boat-inspired craft.

Creative Pack