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An image of Thames Police by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

(United States of America, England 11 Jul 1834 – 17 Jul 1903)

Thames Police
Other titles:
Thames Police (Wapping Wharf)
Media category
Materials used

15.0 x 22.7 cm platemark; 17.2 x 25.0 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., [incised plate] "Whistler. 1859.".
Sir Philip Street Bequest 1939
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Born in the United States, James Whistler's artistic training was undertaken in Paris. In May 1859, Whistler left Paris for London and explored the area bordering the Thames, particularly around the old docks and wharves at Wapping, Rotherhithe and Lime house. He "looked at the banks of the Thames as Meryon had looked at the banks of the Seine hemmed in between the high buildings of Paris". When these etchings of the Thames were published in 1871 as 'The Thames Set', a review in 'Punch' referred to the "tumble down bankside buildings from Wapping and Rotherhithe to Lambeth and Chelsea - where all is pitchy and tarry, and corny and coally, and ancient and fishlike". Like Meryon before him, Whistler had chosen an old and decrepit area of the city with the memories of generations of inhabitants.

AGNSW Handbook, 1994

Bibliography (3)

Nicholas Draffin (Curator), The bitten image: European etchings from the collection, Sydney, 1980, 13. no catalogue numbers

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 130, 131 (colour illus.).

Peter Raissis, Whistler to Freud: Etchings in Great Britain, Sydney, 2001. 97

Exhibition history (2)

The Bitten Image: European etchings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Jul 1980–14 Sep 1980

Whistler to Freud: etching in Great Britain, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Aug 2001–11 Nov 2001