Nocturne: The Thames at Battersea

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
lithotint
Mark Descriptions
butterfly signature in stone, L.R.
Dimensions
6 11/16 x 10 1/4 in (image) 13 1/2 x 19 1/4 in (sheet)
Credit line
Gift in memory of Kurt F. Pantzer, Sr.
Accession number
80.41
Collection
Not Currently On View

Whistler began painting "Moonlights" (later called "Nocturnes") in the late 1860s. In 1878, he captured one such effect of the warehouses at Battersea across the Thames from his residence in Chelsea. It is a lithotint-a process in which a mid-tone grain is applied to the lithographic stone in advance allowing the artist to simply reinforce shadows and scrape out highlights.

"And when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall buildings become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces of the night."
-J.A.M. Whistler, 1888
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