Eagle Wharf by James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834–1903). 1859. Etching and drypoint, printed in warm black ink on very thin laid paper, 5 3/8 x 8 3/8 inches (12.5 x 19.8 cm); in the only recorded state; aside from the edition published in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects, (the Thames Set) published by Ellis & Green in 1871. Source: Whistler on the Thames. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Commentary by Gordon Cooke

A man sits in the foreground on the top of a barge with his legs out towards the picture plane. Behind him it is low tide and a boat is beached at the far left. Another boat is raised on logs in front of Tyzac, Whiteley & Co. and Eagle Wharf, which stood at 269 Wapping High Street, opposite Rotherhithe. Beyond barges stretch across the river with the masts of larger ships drawing the eye towards the distance.

Eagle Wharf was first exhibited in The Works of James Whistler – Etchings and Dry Points at E. Thomas’s print shop, 39 Old Bond Street in 1861, then at Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1862. The subject was published in the Thames Set in 1871 (no.11). The plate was sold by F. Keppel & Co. to Charles Lang Freer in 1896 and is now in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art.

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Kennedy, Edward G. The Etched Work of Whistler. New York: 1910. no.43

MacDonald, Margaret F. Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock. James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonné. University of Glasgow, 2011. Web.

Whistler on the Thames. London: The Fine Art Society, 2013. No. 3.

drawings by Whistler

Last modified 22 May 2014