Early Morning

Accession Number

Early Morning

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
lithotint with scraping on a prepared half-tint ground on wove paper

10 1/16 in. x 14 5/16 in. ( 25.5 cm x 36.4 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Early Morning
Lithotint with scraping, on a prepared half-tint ground
Fourth state of four (Way 7; Chicago 9)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1954/1.415
In this misty view of Battersea from the Chelsea banks of the Thames, Whistler tackles the same subject represented in the adjacent Battersea Dawn, this time in the lithographic medium. Using tusche—a liquid form of the waxy crayon used to create an image on lithographic stones—he achieves the effects of a pen and wash drawing, describing the leaden clouds and the smokestacks on the opposite shore. Despite the fact that lithographic stones were cumbersome and not very portable, Whistler discovered in lithography the ideal printmaking medium for capturing tonal effects.

Subject matter
Whistler found that liminal times of day offered effects that he could translate into a particularly appealing visual poetry. Many of his works sited from the part of Chelsea where he lived looked across the Thames towards the industrial establishments of London; these unpromising views were transformed by his atmospheric and evocative portrayals.

Physical Description
Two men sit on a bench at the lower right. Behind them is a large expanse of water; barges ply the water while smokestacks and buildings are visible on the opposite shore. The overall impression is one of foggy weather and features are generally indistinct.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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bodies of water (natural)
dawn (time of day)

1 Related Resource

(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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