The Bridge

In 1936 the tempera painting, "The Bridge"  was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and in 1937 this painting was reproduced on the cover of the Christmas number of "The Methodist Times and Leader" published in December 1936. A. C.Tatham was asked to write a few words about her picture below called "The Bridge" later named "The Cruxification". 
 
Her footnote to "The Bridge" reads as follows: "I do not propose to write about the general meaning of the picture because I feel sure that any reader of this paper is well able to interpret it for himself. But there are one or two points on which a few explanatory words might be useful.  First, I should like to emphasise the fact that the allegory is from the point of view of the neglected opportunityit is not from the point of view of those who scale the "steep ascent" and find their way across the Bridge.  Had I put any such figures in, it would have opened up a new field of thought - that of comparing the "few that find" the way with the "many."
 
The point of the allegory is rather to show the futile laborious efforts of man to make a way for himself across the "great gulf," while all the time there is the way ready for him if only he would take it. And here perhaps I should mention that the contrast typified by the two sides of the chasm is not, of course, the contrast between this life and the life after death, but of the material world and the Kingdom of Heaven: and particularly of the materialism and commercialism of the present day with the peace and beauty of the spiritual life.

The colouring of the picture is intended to accentuate this- the right-hand side being drab greys and browns, while across the chasm the grass is a vivid green, starred with flowers in the foreground, the mountains are blue, and the heavenly city, standing in a grove of trees is golden white.

The Bridge is of the same colour as the rocks of the gulf, as though it had been hewn out of them. With the regard to the details, I might perhaps point out that the tree in the left foreground has leaves and flowers on the side turned towards the Promised land, but on the other side has only dead branches: that the figure next to the right of the tree is trying to plumb the depths of the chasm with a tape measure.

Further to the right is a street preacher explaining his views on the correct method of bridging the gulf. The two men just below the workman´s hut are trying with field glasses and telescopes to see across to the other side. Further up the slope, workmen are engaged in constructing a bridge of their own, etc. etc.
 
These words are by way of footnotes to details in the picture, and as such, I hope they may be of some use, but I do strongly feel that the allegory in a painting should be allowed to speak for itself through its own medium. The poet uses words, the musician uses music, and the painter uses paint, each to express his thoughts, and none of these thoughts can really be interpreted in the medium belonging to another art."
 
Source: Abingdon Parish Magazine 1937