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Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 312
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 83 x 179 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 10
Catalogues: K.317; M.312
Impressions taken from this plate  (10)


jubilee, naval review, quay, rowing boat, sailing ship, sea, shipping, steamer.


It has always been called 'Tilbury', as for example:

'Tilbury' (1887/1888, Whistler). 1
'Tilbury' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2

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

2: Wedmore 1899[more] (cat. no. 276).


A broad reach of the Thames, with people in two rowing boats in the foreground (fore-water?). In mid-stream are a brig and a sailboat. To right are several small steamboats, possibly tugs, with smoke rising from their funnels, and at far right, a large white steamer. Farther away is a sloop under sail, and in the distance, masses of shipping. On the river bank, at left, there are multi-storey buildings and warehouses, with small boats, including a small steamer, at the quayside.


Tilbury was a small town with a busy port on the River Thames, in Essex. Many of the spectators set off from Tilbury to view the Jubilee Naval Review. Later, in presenting the set of Naval Review etchings to Queen Victoria, Whistler stated :
'I have ... embodied my impressions and observations, on that memorable day, in a set of Etchings - notes, as I may say of the needle, not the pen, taken at the moment and from point to point of that Imperial but pacific and more than Roman triumph, from Tilbury fort to the waters of Portsmouth.' 3
The Pennells commented: 'Whistler, carrying the small plates about with him, sketched the subjects he found on copper as other artists sketch on paper.' and added that the whole set was made 'during the Naval Review, with a plate at Tilbury, on his embarking, and another at Portsmouth on landing.' 4

4: Pennell 1908[more], II, pp. 81-2.