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The Visitors' Boat

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 303
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 178 x 128 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 9
Catalogues: K.320; M.313; W.237
Impressions taken from this plate  (9)


beach, bunting, figure, jubilee, naval review, paddle-steamer, sailing ship, sea, warship.


Examples of variations in the title and punctuation are as follows:

'The Visitor's Boat' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'Naval Review No. 2 Visitors Boat' (1887/1888, Whistler). 3
'Visitors Boat' (1889, Whistler). 4
'The Visitors Boat' (1890/1891, Whistler). 5
'Visitors' Boat' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 6

Whistler's original title, with corrected punctuation, becomes 'The Visitors' Boat'.

2: Written on .

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

4: List, 18 July 1889, GUW #13235.

5: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

6: Wedmore 1899[more] (cat. no. 237).


In the distance are sailing boats, sloops and warships of all sizes up to the monitors with their armoured gun-turrets. In front of them, at right, a side-wheel paddle steamer full of sightseers is steaming to right. On the beach, which takes up the bottom third of the plate, three small figures are bent over, possibly at the water's edge.
Faint lines indicate an earlier etching that has been removed, or an earlier idea for this etching, possibly the inclusion of one or more sailing boats (the vertical lines to left of the figures could be masts, and the lines below the figures could be ships, or a pier or jetty.


Looking out to sea off Spithead on the south coast of England. Very full accounts of the Naval Review appeared in the newspapers. See for instance 'The Great Naval Review', The Times, London, 22 July 1887, p. 3; 'Plan Of The Naval Review At Spithead' and 'The Naval Review', The Times, 25 July 1887, pp. 4, 7; Pall Mall Gazette, 25 July 1887.


The etching includes a ship carrying sightseers in the middle distance. Wedmore misinterpreted it as 'A group of persons seen on the Visitors' Boat. In the distance, various battle craft.' This is incorrect; it is the description of The Fleet: Monitors 306. 7 However, this is not entirely surprising, since Monitors actually shows the view from (not of) the visitors' boat.

7: Wedmore 1899[more] (cat. no. 237).