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An American in London Whistler and the Thames - Book Review

By Edited Jun 15, 2015 0 0

An American in London Whistler and the Thames is published by Dulwich Picture Gallery in association with Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. The 160-page publication accompanies an exhibition of the same name organised at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Fascinating texts by Margaret F. MacDonald and Patricia de Montfort are accompanied by superb colour reproductions in a beautifully presented catalogue.  

An American in London Whistler and the Thames
Credit: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd/Dulwich Picture Gallery

Whistler and the Thames

The publication focuses on the body of work created by James McNeill Whistler during the time he lived in London in the 1860s and 1870s.

Fascinated by Battersea Bridge, the River Thames and the surrounding industrial areas, Whistler produced a large number of drawings, pastels, etchings and paintings. His works tell us about the people living in the area, the buildings, and in particular about life on the Thames.

The authors consider the artist's approach to composition, subject and technique.  They discuss his avant-garde attitude and radical approach to his subject matter, in particular how he challenged the long-established artistic traditions of the period and his influence on the aesthetics of the time.

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames
Amazon Price: $60.00 $52.04 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 15, 2015)

Layout of the Publication

An American in London Whister and the Thames is arranged in two main sections. 

The first part features three very interesting texts with self-explanatory titles: 

  • Introduction: An American in London
  • Whistler and the Thames
  • 'Painting river pictures': Whistler's Chelsea subjects 

The second part of the publication features the catalogue and is set out as follows: 

  • Etching and Drypoint
  • The Thames set
  • The Oil Paintings: Whistler's 'Daylights'
  • Chelsea
  • Lithographs and Lithotints: from Limehouse to Old Battersea bridge
  • Nocturnes
  • Old Battersea Bridge
  • Japonisme
  • Photographs

The contents are accompanied by detailed notes and biobliography, a chronology of key events in Whistler's life and a chonology of Whistler's Thames Subjects.

Whistler in His Time
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About the Authors

Margaret F. MacDonald is Professor Emerita and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow (History of Art) in the School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow. Ms MacDonald is Project Director of a newly completed research programme to create an online catalogue raisonné of Whistler's etchings[1] and author of James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue Raisonne.

Dr Patricia de Montfort is lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow. Her specialist subjects are the life and work of James McNeill Whistler, nineteenth-century women artists and the nineteenth-century London art market. Patricia de Montfort is co-author of Whistler, Women and Fashion.

Scholarly and insightful texts allow us to understand Whistler's passionate love of London and his approach to his subject matter. The publication is available direct from Dulwich Picture Gallery and all good book stores. Priced at £25, this 190-page catalogue is excellent value for money and would make a fabulous gift for any art lover - ISBN 978-178130-022-0.

An American in Paris Whistler and the Thames provides an enduring record of an outstanding exhibition, on show until 12th January 2014.

James McNeill Whistler at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Exhibitions and Interesting Art Books


An American in London Whistler and the Thames Fran5050 2013-10-21 5.0 0 5


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  1. Margaret F. Macdonald, University of Glasgow "James McNeill Whistler A Catalogue Raisonné, ." University of Glasgow. 18/10/2013 <Web >

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