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The Tiny Pool

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 167
Date: 1876/1878
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 99 x 66 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (2-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 22
Catalogues: K.173; M.170; W.73
Impressions taken from this plate  (22)


barge, city, port, river, sailors, ship, steamboat. wharf.


There are small variations in the title, as follows:

'The Pool, No. 3' (1870s, possibly by Whistler). 1
Probably 'Little Pool' (1877, Whistler). 2
'Tiny Pool' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 3
'Tiny Pool' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 4
'The Tiny Pool' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5

The title of this etching can easily be confused with The Little Pool 079. The title emphasises the contrast with a much larger plate, Wapping - The Pool 180. Mansfield's title 'The Tiny Pool' reflects this, and appears most appropriate.

1: Written on .

2: Whistler to C. A. Howell, 9-11 November [1877], GUW #12738

3: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 73).

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

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 173).

Chronologically, The Little Pool 079 was the first of Whistler's etchings of the Pool of London, followed by Wapping - The Pool 180 and this, the smallest of the etchings of the Pool, which could be called either 'The Pool, No. 3' or 'The Tiny Pool'. Obviously there is the possibility of confusing the titles, sequence, and sizes of these three subjects.


A view of the River Thames, London, bounded by the outline of a ship and its rigging beside the wharf at right. Several barges, with two men standing on one, are moored by two mooring-posts in the foreground. Across the river are steamboats, Thames barges with furled sails, and a tall-masted ship. Behind these are wharves and warehouses in shadow, with a spire in the distance to right.


The Pool of London was the furthest that large sailing and steam-ships could get up the River Thames. It was immensely busy, crowded with the bigger vessels and with barges and lighters to unload them.