About this artwork

In 1859 Whistler returned to London from a trip to the Rhine, and he began a series of views of dilapidated warehouses and wharves along the Thames. He turned to examining modern life for inspiration, recording the shadowy underworld of London’s derelict docklands. Many of the sites were earmarked for demolition and his prints capture a vanishing way of life. This fine etching shows a limeburner’s workshop. In 1871 it was issued as plate nine in Sixteen Etchings or Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects (The Thames Set). Whistler’s interest in photography and Japanese woodblock prints is evident in his flattening of the picture space. He looks through a doorway, framing the scene, and through another door, beyond where a view opens out onto the river in the distance.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

James Abbott McNeill Whistler