Battersea Dawn (Cadogan Pier)

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 95
Date: 1863
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 115 x 153 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 61
Catalogues: K.75; M.75; T.64; W.79
Impressions taken from this plate  (61)


It was published as 'Early Morning (Battersea)', No. 15 in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames (the 'Thames Set'), by Ellis & Green, London, in 1871.


In 1874 it was shown as 'Cadogan Pier' with the touring collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) in Liverpool and elsewhere, and was exhibited, in the same year, as 'Battersea Dawn' by Whistler himself, in his first one-man show in London. 14

Impressions were shown in clubs for connoisseurs and collectors like the Union League Club in New York in 1881, to which an impression described as a 'Very delicate etching', was lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750138). 15 An impression was shown at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. 16

It was also included in print dealer's exhibitions such as those of Craibe Angus in Glasgow in 1879, and both Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. (in 1902) and H. Wunderlich & Co. (1898, 1903) in New York. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought one from Wunderlich's in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750106). 17

Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent one impression to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750103) and Freer lent another (either Graphic with a link to impression #K0750201, Graphic with a link to impression #K0750106 or Graphic with a link to impression #K0750105). 18

Finally, after Whistler's death, an impression was shown at the comprehensive Memorial Exhibition at the Grolier Club, New York in 1904. An impression was also lent by Francis Bullard (1862-1913) to the Whistler Memorial show in Boston in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750133), and another came from the Royal Collection to the Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 19

14: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 494); London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 17).

15: New York 1881 (cat. no. 108).


17: New York 1898 (cat. no. 74).

18: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 74, 74a).

19: New York 1904a (cat. no. 82); Boston 1904; London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 79).


'Batt. Dawn.' is listed with three other etchings: '"Limehouse"...Warehouses . Black Lion Wharf' (that is, Limehouse [48], Thames Warehouses [46], Black Lion Wharf [54]) in a section of a notebook started probably after Whistler returned from Valparaiso in 1866, and possibly after he moved into 2 Lindsey Row in Chelsea (now 96 Cheyne Walk) in 1867. 20 The list could relate to printing or marketing these works.

20: GUW #04335.

The Victoria & Albert Museum was the first public collection to buy the complete 'Thames Set' from the publishers, Ellis & Green, on 26 May 1871, at £12.12.0 for the set, including this print as No. 15 'Early Morning (Battersea)' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750123). Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900) bequeathed another impression to the V&A in 1901 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750141). The British Museum acquired an impression in 1874 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750111). E.D. Wallace (fl. 1871-1887), poet, novelist and writer on art, reported in considerable detail on a visit to the British Museum to see Whistler's works:
'let us go to the temple of art and science, and, provided with a "reader's ticket," and "special admission to the print room," we find in a row of elegantly bound folio cases, labeled "Etchings of British Artists," the jealously guarded works of Mr. Whistler, of Baltimore. We are cautioned by the clerk, who unlocks an immense case of pictures handsomely mounted on gilt edged boards, "to handle the treasures carefully," for there are no duplicates if those exquisite drypoints, and the British Museum is the only place in the world where they can be seen. We groan inwardly and are ashamed to confess we are Americans who must come to England to discover the merits and distinctions of our own people swallowed up in the British art schools. ... The very first glance at Mr. Whistler's etchings is sufficient for a lover of art to learn that every picture is copied from nature direct, and each subject has its characteristic point brought out by a master hand. Whether a river scene in open daylight, or a cabaret by lamplight, ... all are fully expressed, boldly or delicately, as the fancy may seize the artist, and every touch of the needle leaves a striking detail of the perfect composition of a rare genius. ...There are twenty views at least of the Thames and its bridges, some full of life and movement - steamboats puffing and paddling up and down the stream, crowds of foot-passengers eagerly pushing their way over the river thoroughfares and vessels loading and unloading their freight on the banks and wharves of the river. Others are sluggish in character - heavy barges drifting away with slack chains, entangling other smaller boats in the floating meshes; ..."Cadogan Pier" is a lovely, delicate etching, a happy view of open river and neatly-lined banks of dainty houses and picturesque spires. ... 21

21: 'Mr Whistler's Paintings', Baltimore Gazette, after 1 April 1876, in GUL PC1/75; partially quoting E.D. Wallace, 'The Fine Arts Abroad', Forney's Weekly Press, Philadelphia, 1 April 1876.

Whistler was delighted with this review of his work and wrote, 'Your article is charming, my dear Mrs. Wallace - and with the description of the etchings & dry points will be perfect - ' 22

22: 1 April 1876, GUW #09550.

Early American collectors included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750108), Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750138) and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750140, Graphic with a link to impression #K0750117). Two impressions were signed by Whistler in the 1890s and probably bought at that time by Francis Bullard (1862-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750133) and Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750103). The Boston Museum of Fine Arts bought an impression from Henry F. Sewall (1816-1896) in 1897 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750134).

At auction, it was more usually sold as part of the 'Thames Set'. A set was sold in 1877 to 'Smith' for £14.0.0. 23 At Christie’s, sets were sold in 1878 for £18.18.0 to the Fine Art Society, in 1881 to 'Taylor, R.' for £11.11.0 and in 1897 to 'Parsons' for £29.0.0. 24

Occasionally single impressions went to auction, fetching low prices. A single impression sold at auction in 1877 to the London print dealer W. Hogarth for £0.11.0. In March 1892 at the sale of the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), an impression was bought by Harrington - probably Henry Nazeby Harrington (1862-1937) - for £1.1.0, and at the sale of the collection of William Richard Drake (1817-1890) an impression on 'Japanese paper' was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst for £2.0.0. 25

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), with his usual thoroughness, bought an impression of the second state from Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co., New York, in 1894 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750105), a cancelled impression (as well as the cancelled copper plate) from the same dealer in 1896 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750201) and a first state from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) through H. Wunderlich & Co., also of New York, in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750106).

23: Sotheby’s, 31 May 1877 (lot 5391).

24: Christie’s, 30 March 1878 (lot 495); 8 March 1881 (lot 456); 13-14 July 1897 (lot 315).

25: Sotheby’s, 12 June 1877 (lot 98) and 3 March 1892 (lot 128); Christie’s, 8-9 March 1892 (lot 311).

Two impressions (one cancelled) now in the Cabinet des estampes, Bibliothèque nationale de France, were acquired from Keppel in 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750119, Graphic with a link to impression #K0760204). The Keppels were closely involved in sales of this etching, and David Keppel gave one to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1913 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750110), and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1917 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0750147).