Signed in pencil on tab: butterfly Inscribed in pencil, on verso, l.l. (in Whistler's hand): "Battersea Morn" - 1st - / Plate destroyed Signed on the plate, u.r.: butterfly Watermark: Arms of Amsterdam
A stretch of water in the foreground and middle ground leads to a horizontal distant shore that is composed of a series of horizontal stepped recessions. The buildings on the far shore appear to be industrial buildings, with many smokestacks. At the bottom of the image are some lightly drawn boats.
Whsitler's home in Chelsea afforded him with views such as this looking towards the commercial portions of Battersea, across the Thames. Whistler favored depicting the river at transitional times of day: dawn, dusk, nighttime because the reduced lighting suggested a poetic beauty, even of warehouses, that broad daylight did not. Here, at dawn, Whistler captures the moment when the shape and mass of objects just begins to coalesce and take on substance.
Semi-circular goldweight with horizontally incised rays.
Goldweights have long been used and produced by Akan-speaking peoples of what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. The oldest and most numerous kind of weights are the abstract ones, made of little blocks of brass, bronze or copper. Circular and semi-circular shapes are fairly common among the abstract weights; they are commonly interpreted as either the sun or the moon and the life-giving powers of either of them.
A man and a woman amble down the street under a crescent moon. The woman plays a stringed instrument, and a woman on a balcony above leans out to listen. Two small dogs in the street appear to howl up at the moon, perhaps joining in the chorus.
Takahashi Hiroaki worked with the prolific twentieth century publisher of woodblock prints Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962). Takahashi was trained in Nihonga, or Japanese painting, and dedicated much of his time to paintings for exhibitions and illustrations for scientific publications. His nostalgic “Old Japan” imagery was highly sought after by collectors in Europe and North America. Takahashi’s work attempts to capture the essence of cultural events and everyday life.
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.
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.
The dark color pallette and the moon indicate that the image is set at night. There are people standing in the water, bending over in search of fish. Others stand on the bank, helping with the fishing process. Also shown are the silhouettes of a bridge over the water and the mountains in the distance.
A boy stands at the front of the painting, arms crossed and face solemn. He is wearing an oversized white shirt that comes down to his knees. A figure, most likely a woman, stands behind him with her back turned. Her head is covered in a long black headscarf that is traditional to Jewish culture. Behind them is a blue horizon.
A girl is facing left, while there is a unicorn on the left and a butterfly on the bottom left of the printing. The sun is above the unicorn indicating it is in the middle of the day, in the afternoon.
The sun sets in the horizon, in the forefront of the photo is a large body of water with three people floating across in a boat. The person in the middle has been photographed in mid-stroke. The figures are cast in the shadow of the setting sun.