The Bottom Line

© Mark Wallinger. All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Image credit: British Council Collection

How you can use this image

This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other UK exceptions to copyright permitted to users based in the United Kingdom under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised. Any other type of use will need to be cleared with the rights holder(s).

Review the copyright credit lines that are located underneath the image, as these indicate who manages the copyright (©) within the artwork, and the photographic rights within the image.

The collection that owns the artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

Review our guidance pages which explain how you can reuse images, how to credit an image and how to find images in the public domain or with a Creative Commons licence available.


Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.

The painting is built on the confrontation between two picture-postcard, value-loaded views of Britain. Tower Bridge, the Victorian emblem of an industrially controlled empire, is set between London's booming financial quarter and its obsolete docklands (now converted into leisure centres and loft apartments for the wealthy). The image is intentionally anonymous, although in fact it was painted from a holiday snap of the artist as a child with his family. Counterpoised to this urban view is a rural idyll of the genre invented by Romantic landscape painters for patrons who had never experienced the degradation of peasant life, and later sold in reproduction to city people nostalgic for a golden age that never existed. Both types of image have penetrated deep into the national consciousness.

British Council Collection



The Bottom Line




oil on board


H 122 x W 99.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from Anthony Reynolds Gallery, 1987

Work type


Inscription description

verso centre l: THE BOTTOM LINE


This artwork does not have any tags yet. You can help by tagging artworks on Tagger.

British Council Collection

British Council, 1 Redman Place, London, Greater London E20 1JQ England

View venue