Thursday, 2 January 2014

Wapping, James McNeill Whistler 

I have never attempted such a difficult subject ...because as the boats leave I have only just time to put in their shades of colour - and for those who are in the habit of making their seascapes at home and to paint models and toys for warships my real boats will not be finished. 

This morning's blue skies and nearly-spring sunshine lasted until the very second I sat down outside the gallery with my coffee. I thought I was the last person in London to be dragging my heels back to work - but no, I had to shuffle in line around the Whistler exhibition at Dulwich, which I suppose serves me right for leaving it until the last few days.

I love the busy-ness of this river scene, painted from the balcony of the Angel at Bermondsey, all that rigging and the to-ing and fro-ing on the water ... it's almost Dickensian, and Whistler's red-haired Irish mistress could easily be Nancy from Oliver Twist. (Click on the image to see better.) Whatever transaction is going on was apparently toned down so the painting could be exhibited in public. More about Whistler in Wapping here.

2 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

Ooh, was there some chicanery going on?

mary said...

Wasn't the best postcode, Toffeeapple. Actually, I think that pub is still there.