|James Abbott Mc Neill Whistler PRBA (1834-1903)|
Signed in the plate "Whistler" and dated 1859.
6 x 9 inches.
Eighth state of nine as published in 1878.
125 known impressions.
A brilliant, clear, richly inked impression.
This etching shows the clock-tower and buildings of Billingsgate Market on the north bank of the River Thames, with London Bridge to the right, and the tower of St Saviour's, Southwark, in the distance at right. The whole composition is seen in reverse.
Whistler turned to the subject of the River Thames in the summer of 1859 when he produced his famous Thames Set of etchings showing the banks of the river east of London Bridge including Wapping, Limehouse and Rotherhithe. These run down, dangerous and infested areas fascinated Whistler. He appreciated the picturesque disrepair of the wharfs and warehouses that lined its banks and empathised with those that worked on the river.
Britain's largest inland fish-market was originally established in the streets near Billingsgate Wharf at the north end of London Bridge. It was based at Lower Thames Street, in the City of London. The original building, shown here, was built in 1849 but was demolished soon after in 1875 to make way for the French Empire style arcaded market hall that exists today. The market moved to the Isle of Dogs in 1982.
References: (K.47) Edward G. Kennedy, The Etched Work of Whistler, New York, The Grolier Club, 1910.
(G51). Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock, James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonne, University of Glasgow, 2012
James Abbott Mc Neill Whistler PRBA (1834-1903):
As a painter, etcher and lithographer Whistler is undoubtedly one of the great masters of the nineteenth century. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts he entered West Point Military Academy in 1851 but left to work as a cartographer for the Navy where he studied etching. In 1855 he went to Paris and came under the influence of Courbet and Manet. In 1859 he moved to London and completed his masterful Thames Set of etchings. Whistler's colourful personality led him to feud, most notably with John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde. He had many imitators including Walter Greaves and Mortimer Mempes. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Society of British Artists, Grosvenor Gallery and elsewhere.