Museum at Home

24 May 2021

The Bridge

Tristram Ellis, ‘Bridge in Cyprus’, 1878, Watercolour, Collection of Costas and Rita Severis Foundation

1. The bridge - museum at home - PNT-00215 Tristram Ellis 1844-1922 Bridge in Cyprus c. 1878 watercolour 19 x 24 cm.jpg

Tristam Ellis arrived in Cyprus in 1878. It was the year that the British took over the governance of the island so the artist was sent to Cyprus to draw pictures of the new acquisition. Ellis painted eighty watercolours depicting the people and the landscapes of Cyprus.

Activity one: The lonely shepherd

Observe the painting very carefully. The artist was charmed by the picturesque stone bridge in the woods and he painted it. In this quiet beautiful place, he met a lonely shepherd, watching with patience his sheep while grazing.

2. The bridge - museum at home - shepherd.png

Did you know…

If you walked around the plains and mountains of Cyprus in the 19th century, you would see many shepherds. The life of shepherds was cruel and lonely as they had to wander around all day with their flock and a dog. They used to spend the night in the pen with the animals and on rare occasions, they would go down to the village to buy supplies.

Now think…

  • If you could, what would you ask the shepherd?
  • What would the shepherd think being alone for so long out in nature?
  • If you could offer him something to make him feel better and maybe less lonely, what would that be?

When out with the flock, the shepherd was obliged to have with him some necessary things to get through the day. What things did he need and why?

He had to wear boots to….

He was holding a long wooden stick to…

He carried a gourd for…

He needed a basket full of…

The shepherds were a favorite subject of the artist. Observe the paintings below and find similarities and differences with the painting in discussion. All of the paintings belong to the collection of the museum.

3. The bridge - museum at home - PNT-00199 Tristram Ellis 1844-1922 Near Kyrenia. c. 1878 watercolour 20 x 30 cm.jpg

4. The bridge - museum at home - PNT-00200 Tristram Ellis 1844-1922 Roman ruins at Soloi c. 1878 watercolour 22 x 32 cm.jpg

5. The bridge - museum at home - PNT-00214 Tristram Ellis 1844-1922 Larnaca Aqueduct 1878 watercolour 20 x 25 cm.jpg

1. The bridge - museum at home - PNT-00215 Tristram Ellis 1844-1922 Bridge in Cyprus c. 1878 watercolour 19 x 24 cm.jpg

Activity two: A medieval bridge

Did you know…

People used to build bridges since prehistoric times as that was the only way to pass over a river or a stream. Today there are bridges all around the world, contemporary and historic, made in different designs and with various materials.

The stone bridge of the painting is one of the many medieval bridges in the island. It was built 500 years ago, during the Venetian Period, and it is known as the Kelefos or Tzielefos Bridge. It is located in the forest of Paphos and it is built over the Diarizos river, the fourth larger river of Cyprus.

7. The bridge - museum at home - kelefos.jpg

"Kelefos, venetian bridge in Trodos forest" by mrcharly is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Imagine now that you are part of the painting. You are in this divine place. Close your eyes and…

  • Which natural sounds can you hear?
  • What can you see around you, on the ground and up in the sky?
  • What smells can you distinguish?

Now move around…

  • Walk casually crossing the bridge
  • Bend over the river and drink cold water from your palm
  • Pretend that you pick up stones, sticks, and leaves from the ground
  • Become a shepherd and walk bravely with your flock holding your wooden stick

Since the bridge was built in medieval times, what about making a drawing with the bridge and knights on horses or any medieval characters instead of a shepherd? Another idea is to build your own bridge using your Legos or other building blocks and place underneath it any other toys you want.

8. The bridge - museum at home - lego_bridge.jpg

"Lego Bridge" by amypalko is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Send us a photo of your drawing or construction at

Activity three: Bridges of acceptance and love

Did you know…

Bridges have also a symbolic meaning. The bridge of acceptance and love is our effort to come closer to other people, to understand them and accept them no matter where they come from, their religion, gender, etc.

Draw now a picture of your bridge of love and acceptance and how you imagine it.

Send us a photo of your drawing at


Our challenge for this week is to organise a trip to one of the Venetian Bridges of the island. Some of them are included in Nature Trails by the Department of Forests.

Let's visit the museum

We would be more than happy to welcome many families to the museum! This week you could look around the exhibition for the paintings of Tristram Ellis. You could also ask a member of the staff to show you the painting 'The Bridge' which is currently located in one of the storerooms.

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