The Abbey Jubilee

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 296
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 99 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.316; M.326
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)
The Abbey Jubilee dates from 21 June 1887. The fiftieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was celebrated in 1887. Jubilee celebrations included a service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, 21 June 1887. The processional route was lined with enthusiastic crowds and the Abbey itself was decorated inside and out in a riot of colour. 1

1: The Times, London, 22 June 1887, pp. 5-7.

As President of the Society of British Artists, Whistler was invited to attend the service at Westminster Abbey by Spencer Cecil Brabazon Ponsonby-Fane (1824-1915). 2 According to Mansfield, the scene was drawn on the plate by Whistler 'during the service in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee.' 3 The Pennells recorded Whistler's Jubilee activities:

2: 6 June 1887, GUW #01851.

3: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 326).

'Whistler ... was invited to the Jubilee ceremonies in Westminster Abbey, and in Mr Lorimer's [sic] painting he may be seen on one side of the triforium, Leighton on the other. Jubilee in the Abbey, an etching, gives his impressions. He was asked also to the state garden-party at Buckingham Palace, and to the Naval Review off Spithead, when he made the Naval Review series of plates ...' 4

4: Pennell 1911 A, pp. 262-263.

The painting in which Whistler appears, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Service, Westminster Abbey, now in the Royal Collection, is actually by William Ewart Lockhart (1846-1900). 5

5: Oil on canvas, 1887-1890; http:// eGallery (accessed 2011).