Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Gold and grey - The Sunny Shower, Dordrecht


  • 1903: in Whistler's studio at his death and bequeathed to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) ;
  • 1935: given by Miss Birnie Philip to the University of Glasgow.


  • 1886: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886 (cat. no. 51) as "Gold and grey – The Sunny Shower, Dortrecht'.
  • 1888: possibly III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1888 (cat. no. 33) as 'Grau und Gold: Regen und Sonne'.
  • 1889: “Notes” – “Harmonies” – “Nocturnes”, H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, 1889 (cat. no. 9) as 'A Silver Note – Sun and Rain – Holland'.

The Illustrated London News expressed 'unfeigned admiration' for this watercolour, which the art critic considered to be among Whistler's 'serious' works, enquiring how Whistler achieved 'that marvellous transparency of colour which he can throw at times into his sea and air.' 1

A New York newspaper, The Epoch, on 8 March 1889, commented that in 'A Silver Note – Sun and Rain – Holland' 'the beautiful silvery tone is charming'. It was priced at 30 guineas, but remained unsold, and was returned to Whistler after the exhibition by Wunderlich's on the SS Servia. 2

By the terms of Miss Philip's Gift, this work cannot be lent to another venue.


1: Anon., 'The Whistler Exhibition', Illustrated London News, London, 15 May 1886, p. 14.

2: G. Dieterlen, H. Wunderlich & Co., to Whistler, 1 November 1889, GUW #07187.

Last updated: 2nd April 2021 by Margaret