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Chelsea Embankment

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 268
Date: 1886
Medium: etching
Size: 45 x 135 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 23
Catalogues: K.260; M.256; W.211
Impressions taken from this plate  (23)


bridge, child, dog, factory, people, river, street.


Whistler's original title is not known. There were several minor variations of the title, during and after Whistler's lifetime, as follows:

'A Sketch on the Embankment' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2
'Sketch on the Chelsea Embankment' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 3
'On the Embankment' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4
'A Sketch of the Embankment' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5
'Chelsea Embankment' (2009, Whistler Etching Project).

'Chelsea Embankment' is an accurate title (since the scene shown was on Chelsea Embankment) and is based on Beatrice Whistler's title.

2: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 211).

3: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

4: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 256).

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 260).


The warehouses, factories, and wharf-side buildings and chimneys of Battersea are seen on the far side of the River Thames, with several small side-wheel paddle steamers moored by the wharves. At far left is the gentle curve of a bridge. In the foreground is a wooden fence, with, from left to right, a seated woman, a girl with her leg up on the middle rung of the fence, a man (mostly rubbed out), a dog, a girl carrying a baby, Whistler's butterfly signature, a group of three girls, and a man leaning on the fence. Most of them are looking over at the river.


The Chelsea Embankment, looking over the river to Battersea, on the River Thames in London. Théodore Roussel (1847-1926) - an admirer and 'follower' of Whistler - etched a view of Chelsea Embankment in June 1889. 6

6: Hausberg 1991[more] (cat. no. 30).