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Children, Portsmouth

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 301
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 67 x 99 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 6
Catalogues: K.323; M.311
Impressions taken from this plate  (6)
Portsmouth, Children probably dates from 23 July 1887.
The fiftieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was celebrated in 1887. Jubilee celebrations included a Naval Review at Spithead on 23 July. Whistler as President of the Society of British Artists was invited to attend. During the day he made twelve etchings, the 'Jubilee Set', as well as a watercolour and pencil sketches. In presenting a set of the etchings to the Queen, Whistler wrote to William Smith (1808-1876):
'Having been officially invited, as President of the Royal Society of British Artists, to attend the Review by Her Majesty of her Fleet at Spithead ... I felt myself moved to offer some tribute, within the scope of my own art, ... to the enduring significance of a magnificent [spectacle] which was something grander and loftier than a mere pageant.

I have accordingly embodied my impressions and observations, on that memorable day, in a set of Etchings - notes, as I may say of the needle, not the pen, taken at the moment and from point to point of that Imperial but pacific and more than Roman triumph, from Tilbury fort to the waters of Portsmouth.' 1

1: [1 December 1887], GUW #01849.

Related subjects include The Landing Stage, Cowes [309], The Fleet: Monitors [306] andThe Visitors' Boat [303].