Wapping Wharf

Print
1859 (etched), 1871 (printed and published)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 acclain 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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Additional Titles
  • The Thames Set (series title)
  • A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and other subjects (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Etching on paper
Brief Description
Etching by James Whistler, 'Wapping Wharf' from the Thames Set. Etched 1859, published in 'Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, and Other Subjects,' London, 1871.
Physical Description
Etching by James Whistler, ‘Wapping Wharf’ from the Thames Set; etched 1859. Printed and issued in 1871 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. River view: in the foreground, boats drawn up on the shore at low tide, with ships’ masts in the distance at left. A mass of riverside buildings occupies the main of the composition, with the Wapping Wharf and Thames Police buildings at right.
Dimensions
  • Image / plate height: 153mm
  • Image / plate width: 228mm
  • Paper height: 17.9cm
  • Paper width: 25.4cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Whistler. 1859.' (Signed and dated by the artist in plate bottom right.)
Object history
1871 edition. K.44, 3rd state.
Subjects depicted
Places Depicted
Summary
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 acclain 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.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Wedmore, Frederick. Whistler's Etchings, A Study and a Catalogue. London: Colnaghi & Co, 1899. No.42.
  • Kennedy, Edward G. The Etched Work of Whistler. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1978. No.44, 3rd state.
Collection
Accession Number
24767:2

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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