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|The Pump House in better times|
Photograph by Andrea Byrnes
|The Pumphouse Today.|
Photograph by Steve Cornish
|Queen Elizabeth II's replica Wedding Cake,|
Photograph by Steve Cornish
|"Rotherhithe." Etching and drypoint.|
Composed at the Angel Inn 1860.
Victoria and Albert Museum CAI-139
Whistler with his etching press
(Copyright the Hunterian Gallery)A thin copper plate was heated, covered with a thin acid-resistant ground, and smoked to produce a shiny black surface. Whistler drew with steel etching needles, which scratched bright copper lines through the ground. Etching is an intaglio process (from the Italian intagliare, 'to incise.') The incised lines were etched with nitric acid diluted with water, which bit down into the exposed lines.
After washing the plate, Whistler checked for scratches and mistakes. Then he could heat the plate, hammer out mistakes, and start again, using 'stopping-out varnish' to protect satisfactory areas. He also worked in drypoint, drawing directly on the plate with a needle, which threw up a metal ridge or 'burr'. Additions and changes were made in etching or drypoint. Each change produced a new 'state' of the etching.
The plate was cleaned, warmed, and dabbed with brown or black printer's ink. Surface ink was wiped off, leaving ink in the etched lines or drypoint burr. The plate, placed on damped paper, was pulled under pressure through the printing press.
The printed image appeared in reverse as fine dark lines. An indent (the plate mark), shows where the plate pressed into the paper. The first prints from a plate are often called proofs; all prints are known as impressions. A set of etchings, limited in number, could be published as an edition, by artist or dealer.
When enough impressions had been pulled from a plate, it was cancelled by drypoint lines or acid, and some impressions printed to prove that it had been cancelled. In a very few cases the plate was later restored and reprinted by other printers. . . .
The printed image appears as fine brown or black lines on the paper. A slight indent (the 'plate mark') appears round the edge, where the copper plate pressed into the paper. The scene appears in reverse on the paper. Since Whistler usually drew on site, from nature, his views are reversed. He had to write his signature back to front on the plate for it to be readable.
The first prints pulled from a plate are called proofs. Each print is known as an impression; and a defined number of impressions may be printed from any plate
|Little Wapping. From the Angel Inn. 1861.|
Fitzwilliam Museum P283-1954
|The Little Pool, 1871, Fitzwilliam Museum|
|Longshore Men 1859, possibly at The Angel Inn|
|Steven's Barge Builders, Rotherhithe, 1859|
|Both sides of the river are shown in "Wapping," one of the few of Whistler's |
depictions of the Thames to show a steam boat. 1860-64, oil on canvas,
© National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
|The Thames in Ice 1860 |
The Freer Gallery, Washington DC.
|Whistler Self-portrait, 1859|
Etching and drypoint.
Victoria and Albert no.19799
|A couple of weeks ago|
|London in the 1600s, showing a mainly rural |
Rotherhithe at far right
The first we learn of the Castles occupying land on the Thames at Rotherhithe is from a map belonging to the Earl of Salisbury dated 1610. The exact location of the Yard is not easy to pinpoint but it is known to be a shipbuilding facility which William Castell was operating. Most of the land shown on the map is located to the east of the Neckinger thus placing it fairly close to the site of the well-known Cherry Garden Stairs. It is certainly clear that the family were probably active in the shipping business during the late Elizabethan era.
Research has shown that William Castle was born in 1590 and was probably responsible for building up the business at the Rotherhithe site. His father John who may have negotiated the terms of the tenancy in the early 1600s more likely achieved the acquisition of the site.
|HMS Taunton or HMS Dover, both built by|
|This painting is actually from 100 years after Taunton was |
sunk and shows the Battle of Chesapeake, but is a useful
illustration of how ships engaged in the line of battle
|The Battle of the Texel, 11–21 August 1673 by Willem van de Velde I|
|The Four Days Battle of 1666, in which Taunton (by then HMS Crown)|
took part. By Pieter Cornelisz van Soest.
|The Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiacus)|
|The old path that crosses the muddy foreshore|
to the former Cuckold's Point ferry
|The foreshore at Hanover Stairs|
|Nelson Dock, 1868. Click to see the full-sized image|
|Nelson Dock in 1862, by Stuart Rankin from his 1996|
booklet "Shipbuilding in Rotherhithe - The Nelson
Dockyard." Rotherhithe Local History Paper no.2.
|Argonaut on an Angry Sea. By Henry Scott|
Apparently the story did her a lot of good, because pirates operating in Chinese waters considered her to be a force to contend with!
Regarding the use of the cannon for saluting purposes, an amusing incident occurred in Shanghai in 1868. Several of the tea clippers were moored in the river, discharging, etc., before proceeding to Foochow, when the Leander, having finished, unmoored and towed to the sea. Her departure was signalised by a general solute from the other clippers present. And it so happened that just as the Argonaut fired one of her guns from the starboards side of the poop, a Chinese man-of-war junk happened to be sailing past. the wad, which had been made purpose hard of old rope in order to raise a loud report, went right through the junk's mainsail and landed on the quarter of another ship near by, knocking away some of the gilt carving on her stern. The men on the junk fell flat on the deck with fright when the gun went off, and it knocked a hole in her sail large enough to drag a wagon through.
Shanghai Bund in 1860. Peabody Essex Museum. Click to see full size.
"We are duly in precept of your esteemed favour of the 2nd ulto and have perused it with grate interest, the state of matters as regards the loading of the teas ships is, oar rather will be we fear, pretty much as we have anticipated. In fact we will think ourselves well off in the face of the competition of you are able to get the Argonaut loaded at 30s with fair despatch. Of course we don't mean that such a rate pays, but only that we will look upon it as a fair get out under the circumstances."
|Argonaut hove-to with her mainsails clewed up, waiting for|
the arrival of a pilot. By James Burr. From David MacGregor's
"The China Bird."
|Nelson Dry Dock at the Hilton Hotel.|
Photograph by Christine Matthews.