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Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 173
Date: 1877
Medium: drypoint
Size: 151 x 227 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 25
Catalogues: K.165; M.161; W.135
Impressions taken from this plate  (25)


cancelled plate, river, riverscape, rowing boat, sailing ship, sailors, wharf.


There is one change from Whistler's early title to later titles, as follows:

'Greenhithe' (1870s, Whistler). 3
'Greenhithe' (1877, Whistler). 4
'The Thames towards Erith' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'Thames towards Erith' (1887, Whistler). 6
'Greenhithe' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
The Thames towards Erith' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

Since Greenhithe is five miles from Erith it is misleading to call this 'towards Erith' and so Whistler's original title 'Greenhithe' has been preferred.

3: Written on .

4: To Messrs Hogarth, 22-27 October [1877], GUW #12737.

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 135).

6: Whistler to T. McLean, 17 May 1887, GUW #13011.

7: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 161).

8: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 165).


A broad reach of the River Thames, with, at front left, two rowing boats. There are four men in the nearest boat, one standing, and three in the boat beyond. At the centre of the view is a man rowing a small boat, and just behind him is another boat with furled sail. Farther away, to left, are more rowing and sailing boats. In the centre of the fairway in the distance there are taller sailing ships, some under sail but most with sails furled. On the far bank at left are fields and trees, and at far right, a wooden shed sits on a wharf raised on piles, with more buildings and warehouses in the far distance to left of it. It is cloudy, and possibly raining.


On one impression Whistler wrote: 'Greenhithe' (). In 1878 an article on 'English Etchings' commented:
'Mr Whistler, we are glad to learn, is resuming his etching, and among his most recent plates we may mention ... "Greenhithe," and etchings of Temple Bar and Wych-street, which, when completed, will rank with his most masterly plates.' 9
Greenhithe is in the County of Kent, on the south bank of the River Thames, between Stone and Swanscombe, and about five miles below Erith. Newly launched ships were fitted out in the docks there, and tall ships were unloaded into Thames barges that could navigate further up the river. It was also a popular resort in Victorian times, easily reached by riverboats and railway from the city of London. 10

10: 'River View at Greenhithe', (accessed 2009).