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Black Lion Wharf

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 54
Date: 1859
Medium: etching
Size: 153 x 229 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower right
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 104
Catalogues: K.42; M.41; T.35; W.40
Impressions taken from this plate  (104)
Black Lion Wharf was dated '1859' by Whistler on the copper plate. Nearly fifty years later, Whistler's biographers, the Pennells, recorded:
'Whistler once told us that he worked about three weeks on each of the Thames plates. He therefore must have spent on dated plates alone thirty-six weeks in 1861, leaving but fourteen weeks for other work and for play. ... it was about the Black Lion Wharf, one of the fullest of detail, that we especially asked Whistler. ... there is no doubt that the Thames plates, notably the Black Lion Wharf, have, for artistic rendering of inartistic subjects, and for perfect biting, never been approached by anybody.' 1

1: Pennell 1908[more], I, pp. 91-2.

Whistler made over thirty etchings during the year, including many scenes on and by the river Thames in London, such as Thames Warehouses 046, Limehouse 048, The Pool 049, Eagle Wharf 050, Thames Police 053, and Billingsgate 051.
Black Lion Wharf was published in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames (the 'Thames Set') by Ellis & Green in 1871.