|Size:||84 x 190 mm|
|No. of States:||1|
|Catalogues:||K.150; M.148; W.128|
|Impressions taken from this plate (8)|
'A Riverside Sketch' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 3
'Coustom House' [sic] (1887/1888, Whistler). 4
'Custom House' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'Customs House, Thames' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 6
'The White Tower' (1903, Obach & Co.). 7
'The White House' (1903, Wunderlich's). 8
'The White Tower' (1905, ISSPG). 9
'Custom-House' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 10
'The White Tower' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 11
Both the Custom House and the White Tower of the Tower of London appear in the view, which explains the various titles. The 'White Tower' is clearly visible but looks black in this view, but this really does not help in distinguishing it from another Thames view, Steamboats off the Tower 156, which shows the Tower as white.
Custom House is the preferred title. It is Whistler's earliest title, adopted (with corrected spelling and an added hyphen) by Mansfield, and differentiates it from any other etching.
3: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no 128).
4: List, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233.
5: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.
6: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.
7: London Obach 1903 (cat. no. 105).
8: New York 1903b (cat. no. 96).
9: London Mem. 1905 (cat. nos. 128, 301).
10: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 148).
11: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 150).
The Tower of London from London Bridge, 2011.
Photo © M.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project.
It is certainly taken either from London Bridge or from a two-storey building nearby (the view is taken from well above river level).
12: J. Pennell, n.d., draft catalogue (cat. no. 150), Library of Congress, Pennell Collection, Box. 353.
13: See the highly entertaining Tower of London website at http://www.hrp.org.uk (accessed 2011).
The Custom House was on Lower Thames Street, London, EC3, on the north (city) side of the river Thames. It was built, burnt, replaced, collapsed, repaired, blown up, rebuilt, bombed, restored, and extended over several centuries. The sixth incarnation was built by David Laing between 1813 and 1817 and extended between 1825-1827 by Robert Smirke (1781-1867), who added the central pillars that are conspicuous in Whistler's etching.
14: 'Proposed High-Level Tower Bridge', The Times, London, 25 March 1878, p. 4.