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Pickle Herring Wharf

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 164
Date: 1876/1877
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 152 x 229 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 8
Known impressions: 30
Catalogues: K.167; M.163; W.137
Impressions taken from this plate  (30)


barge, ferry, fishing boats, river, riverscape, rowing boat, sailing ship, sailors, steamer, warehouse, wharf.


There are possibilities for confusion in the title, due to the similarity of the subject to other Thames etchings:

'Pickle herring Stairs' (1877, Whistler). 2
'Pickle herring Wharf' (1877, Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941)). 3
'From Pickled-Herring Stairs' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 4
'Pickled Herring Stairs or Wharf ' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'From Pickle-Herring Stairs' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6

Since the print shows boats clustered at a wharf on the Thames rather than the actual 'Stairs', 'Pickle Herring Wharf' appears to be the correct title.

2: To Windsor Castle, [19/22 October 1877], GUW #12736.

3: Letter to Colnaghi's, 12 November 1877, GUW #12988.

4: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 137).

5: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 163).


A view of the River Thames in London. Two rowboats are moored in the left foreground, and behind these are two barges, and two men in a small rowing boat. To right are several moored fishing-smacks with furled sails, and a taller sailing ship. Three- and five-storey buildings line the wharves to left, where a steamer is moored among barges by the quay. There are more sailing and steam ships in the distance, under a cloudy sky.


Pickle Herring Stairs was below London bridge, on the south (Surrey) side of the River Thames, in London. It was one of many stairs providing access to the ferry boats that crossed the river. It was at the southern end of the tunnel under the Thames that ran from Tower Stairs just beyond the eastern end of Lower Thames Street. 7

7: 'The Thames Tunnel and the East London Railway', The Graphic, 29 January 1870.