|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||77 x 204 mm|
|Signed:||'Whistler' at lower right|
|Inscribed:||'1859.' at lower right|
|Set/Publication:||'Thames Set', 1871|
|No. of States:||5|
|Catalogues:||K.38; M.37; T.42; W.35|
|Impressions taken from this plate (63)|
'The Thames, from the Tunnel Pier' (1860, Royal Academy). 2
'Frederick Vink, Wharfinger' (1861, V&A). 3
'Thames Warehouses' (1862, International Exhibition). 4
'Thames Warehouses' (1871, Ellis & Green). 5
'Thames Warehouses' (1870s, Whistler). 6
'Thames Warehouses' (1874, Whistler). 7
'View of the Thames from Thames Tunnel Pier' (1874, James Anderson Rose (1819-1890)). 8
'View up the River' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 9
'Ware houses on Thames' (1870s, Whistler). 10
'Thames Warehouses, from Thames Tunnel Pier' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 11
'Fred. Vinck & Co.' (1897, Christie's). 12
The title 'Thames Warehouses', as published in the 'Thames Set' in 1871, is preferred.
In Whistler's one-man exhibition in 1874, there were two related etchings, one called 'Thames Tunnel Pier' (which is The Pool 049) and this one, 'Thames Warehouses' (cat. nos. 16, 20). There can be an element of confusion in the titles of etchings drawn at the same site. Tunnel Pier was in Wapping, giving a good view of the Pool of London, and was the viewpoint used by Whistler for The Pool as well as Thames Warehouses. It may be that Whistler himself spotted the possible confusion and eliminated all mention of Tunnel Pier.
The title 'Frederick Vink, Wharfinger', recorded in 1861, may have been suggested by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), and was based on the sign on the nearest building at left. In 1897, Christie's used a similar title, 'Fred. Vinck & Co.' Although this does distinguish the etching from others, it is only one of several signboards, and cannot be said to describe the subject fully.
2: London RA 1860 (cat. no. 944).
3: 1 January 1861, V&A Register of Prints, p. 32.
4: London Int. 1862.
5: A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on The Thames.
6: Written on .
7: London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 16).
8: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 493).
9: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 42).
10: Written on .
11: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 35).
12: 13-14 July 1897 (lot 312).
13: Street directory, London Postal Directory, 1859.
'two shafts, fifty-five feet in diameter, and seventy-five feet deep; placed one of each side of the river ... Over each shaft is built a rotunda thirty feet high ...painted with landscapes ... including a very good painting of Niagara Falls. ... The Tunnel is ... twelve hundred feet long ... - it is of no use except to foot passengers, and the expenses of gas and attendance are met by charging a toll of one penny on each visitor .... under the middle of the river is a refreshment room, ... A thin brick ceiling over head, ... with water trickling from the ceiling ... and steamers, ships and barges sailing along far above you! - ' 15
Lochnan commented : 'two small plates, Thames Warehouses ... and Old Westminster Bridge, ... which recall both in subject and style Hollar's views of London along the Thames, ... were well represented in the Haden collection.' 17
An ecstatic 1913 commentary on Thames Warehouses, published in an American Art Association sale catalogue, reads:
'Here there is evidenced as close an adherence to topographical fact, to local truth, as if Hollar himself had been the etcher - but the needle, how constantly expressive, and, one might say, sometimes, how witty! - and the drawing of what decision, and of what finesse! The life of the River, half a century ago - the River "below the bridge," with the quaint warehouses and taverns, the wherries, barges, clippers, all the waterside population - lies before us, realized so fully, and yet with its appeal to the imagination, in these brilliant and exquisite pages … What charm of the receding "coastline" - so to say - in the little 'Thames Warehouses' 18
16: M.DC.LXVI, Museum of London, acc. no. A24656; copy after Hollar, ca 1646, BM 1868,0822.337, R. Pennington, A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar, Cambridge, 1982, no. 1011.II; F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein: German engravings, etchings and woodcuts 1400-1700, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 460.II (Hollar).
17: Lochnan 1984[more], p. 76.