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The Beach, Ostend

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 353
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 82 x 185 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.354; M.347
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


beach, children, parasol, people, sea, ship.


Only one title is known, with mild variations in spelling and punctuation, as follows:

'The Beach Ostende' (1880s, Whistler). 3
'The Beach Ostend' (1887/1888], Whistler). 4
'Ostend The Beach' (190/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
The Beach, Ostend' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6

'The Beach, Ostend' is the generally accepted title.

3: Written on .

4: List, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233.

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

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 347).


At far left, two women and four children are standing or playing at the water's edge. Behind them is a tall pole with a globe on top. To right of these figures, two women, one holding an umbrella, sit on a bench, and to right of them a woman is standing looking out to sea. In the foreground, a child stands looking down at a toddler sitting on the beach; behind them, to right, two people - possibly an adult and child - are bending down looking at something at the edge of the sea. In the distance are two small sailing boats, and on the horizon at left, a larger steam ship.


The long, sandy beach adjoining the important fishing and ferry port of Ostend , Belgium. Whistler also etched The Canal, Ostend 352, Fishing Quay, Ostend 351, Fish Women, Ostend 349 and Market Place, Ostend 350 in Ostend.


Other beach subjects include The Beach, Hastings 150, Speke Shore 139, Fishing Boats, Hastings 163, Dieppe 251 and The Visitors' Boat 303. Of these, Dieppe 251 is closest in composition and style, a vignetted scene punctuated with figures scattered across an almost blank area, the spaces and broken lines creating a spacious, atmospheric effect despite the small scale of the etching..