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The Little Rotherhithe

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 74
Date: 1861
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 125 x 102 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: '1861.' at lower right
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 15
Catalogues: K.73; M.72; T.49; W.71
Impressions taken from this plate  (15)


barge, boat, city, man standing, river, sailing ship, ship, worker.


There are considerable variations in both Whistler's and published titles, as follows:

'The Little Rotherhithe' (1863, Whistler). 1
'The little Pool' (1860s, Whistler). 2
'Little Wapping' (1870s, Whistler). 3
'The Thames' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 4
'The Little Wapping' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'Little Wapping' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6

The title is a problem because Wapping is opposite Rotherhithe. Several etchings and paintings were called at different times both Rotherhithe and Wapping, because the title could indicate the source of the view or the distant view. 'The Little Rotherhithe', however, is Whistler's original title in this case, and relates the etching to the very similar but larger etching, Rotherhithe 070.

1: Whistler to W. H. Carpenter, 3 August 1863, GUW #11109.

2: Written on .

3: Written on .

4: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 49).

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 71).

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 72).


In the right foreground are several barges beside the wharves and warehouses with their derricks. The nearest barge has the hatch covered, a man standing at the bow and another with a pole at the stern. Behind it is a barge loaded with sacks or pigs, with a man standing in the middle of them. To left of this is a two-masted ship under bare poles - possibly a hulk. Further away, boats and barges are moored beside all the warehouses along the river bank that stretches into the distance from near right to far left. Out in the river are six or seven sailing ships; the one at far left has sails half-furled. Two small rowing boats and a lighter are crossing the open water between these ships and the moored barges at right.


Etching: K0660304
It is the same view as seen in Rotherhithe 070 (reproduced above), the view from The Angel , a pub at Cherry Gardens, Bermondsey, London, looking down the River Thames.
Etching: c_K066_02

Tower Bridge from Cherry Gardens.
M.F.MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2010.