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

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Blue and Silver - The Choppy Channel


A wash of pale grey covers most of the sky, leaving an uneven line of white for the wave tops along the horizon. Strokes of prussian blue, pale emerald green and grey summarise stormy water under grey clouds. Colours were scumbled over the rough surface. The cool silvery grey of the sky contrasts with the glittery scumbled waves. Each colour is separate, and the overlapping multi-facetted strokes, following the complicated pattern of wave on wave, produce a prismatic effect.

See technical details in Whistler in Watercolour, Freer|Sackler, Washington, 2019, website.

Conservation History

It is on a heavy weight paper, almost certainly wove, with a rough grain, slightly browned within the mount.

Last updated: 6th December 2020 by Margaret