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Print - Rotherhithe
  • Rotherhithe
    Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, born 1834 - died 1903
  • Enlarge image


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (printed and published)
    London (etched)

  • Date:

    1860 (etched)
    1871 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, born 1834 - died 1903 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching and drypoint on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case EE, shelf 1, box B

During his formative years in Paris in the 1850s, Whistler was influenced by the injunctions of the poet and theorist Charles Baudelaire that artists should take subjects from 'modern life' and seek a new beauty in the teeming cities. Whistler's first major suite of prints, his 'French Set' brought critical acclaim but disappointing sales. Seeking more generous patrons, he moved to London in 1859. Initially under the influence of his brother-in-law Francis Seymour Haden, a pioneer of the 'etching revival', he began a series of superbly observed and finely detailed views of the River Thames with its shipping, thriving wharves and picturesque characters.

The subject and composition are closely related to Whistler's brilliantly innovative oil painting of the same year, Wapping, (National Gallery of Art, Washington), which he kept secret from rivals such as Courbet for fear that his ideas would stolen.

Physical description

Etching and drypoint by James Whistler, ‘Rotherhithe’ or ‘Wapping’ from the Thames Set. Etched 1860. Printed and issued in 1871 under the title ‘Wapping’ as one of the ‘Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, and Other Subjects,’ by Ellis and Green, 32 King Street, Covent Garden, in editions of one hundred. Signed and dated by the artist in plate. View of the Thames seen through a grid of ships’ rigging, from the balcony of the Angel Inn, Cherry Gardens, Rotherhithe. Wapping is faintly outlined across the river with the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance at left. In the foreground, two men seated on the balcony, one looking towards the viewer.

Place of Origin

London (printed and published)
London (etched)


1860 (etched)
1871 (printed and published)


Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, born 1834 - died 1903 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Etching and drypoint on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Whistler. 1860.'
Signed and dated by the artist in plate bottom left.


Height: 27.7 cm plate, Width: 20.3 cm plate, Height: 29.7 cm paper, Width: 22 cm paper

Object history note

1871 edition. W.60; K.66, 3rd state.

Descriptive line

Etching by James Whistler, 'Rotherhithe' or 'Wapping' from the Thames Set. Etched 1860, published in 'Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, and Other Subjects,' London, 1871.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wedmore, Frederick. Whistler's Etchings, A Study and a Catalogue. London: Colnaghi & Co, 1899. No.60.
Kennedy, Edward G. The Etched Work of Whistler. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1978. No.66, 3rd state.
Dorment, Richard, et al. James McNeill Whistler. London: Tate Gallery Publications, 1994. Catalogue entry, p.104, ill. Exhibition catalogue.


Paper; Printing ink


Etching (printing process); Drypoint

Subjects depicted

Balconies; Inns; Marines (visual works); Men; Leisure; Rivers




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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