Scene on a riverside with sailboats

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
Hurlingham, 1879
Etching and drypoint, black ink on cream laid paper
5 3/8 × 7 7/8 in. (13.7 × 20.1 cm)
Published by The Printseller’s Association, January 1879
Fourth state of four
Signed at lower left in plate: Whistler’s butterfly monogram
Gertrude Kosovsky Collection
© The Frick Collection


A busy locale on the Thames, Hurlingham Park was an intersection of industrial and leisure activities where both barges and rowboats lined the bank. Using richly inked drypoint lines, Whistler draws attention to two sails and their reflections. A band of boats cuts across the middle of the composition, creating a strong horizontal line repeated in the gentle disturbances on the river's tranquil surface. The bold, abstract forms in the foreground are set off by a more delicately rendered landscape along the shore.

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