This sheet of sketches of barges and boats suggests that they were drawn from life and meant to capture the rich variety of life along a river. Two of the sketches along the bottom of the sheet show large piles of hay or similar materials; two smaller boats in the upper portion of the paper have smaller cargo. Three of these four sketches show the boats with an oarsman in the rear and are seen passing by from the bank or from another boat. At the upper right corner is a sketch of two boats, possibly tied up to a dock as both are seen end-on from the bows.
This sketch is evidence of the interest in everyday life and subjects. The artist adroitly uses the slight wash indicating shadows to unify the setches as if they were seen concurrently, the untouched paper reading as the surface of the water.
Arial view of a river with a port filled with boats. There are many surrounding buildings as well as a large church on the right hand side, visible from its dome-like roof. The image is toned in browns.
A large ornate waterdoor faces onto a canal. On the threshold near the water, a woman bends down towards the surface of the canal. Behind the doorway stands another figure in the shadows and beyond is another opening to a small square or open-air workspace. The Doorway consists of a large lunette shaped transom light over the door and the portal is flanked on either side by large arched windows. The glazing is all fitted into a fine network of mullions in either square on diamond patterns. The door and windows are each framed by carved pilasters and engaged corinthian capitals. Below the windows are bands of rosettes and other carved ornament that extends to the water level.
Whistler discovered "a Venice within Venice" that had never captured the attention of earlier artists. Rather than focus on Venice's grand public spaces, he worked along the back canals, in both pastel and in etching, finding topics of local color and rich detail. This doorway belonged to a chair repair shop. In the first state--and again in this the last state--the woman's stooping gesture is given significance by the cloth in her hand; she is washing out dye in the canal.
Signed in black ink in margin below l.r. corner of image: Garnett. Stamped in green ink at b.c. of mat: WILLIAM GARNETT/SANDHILL CRANES OVER/BRAZOS RIVER, TX, 1975; VERSO: Stamped in black ink at center of sheet: "ALL RIGHTS TO THIS PHOTOGRAPH, OTHER THAN FOR WHICH IT IS SOLD, ARE RETAINED BY / WILLIAM A. GARNETT AND HIS HEIRS, ADMINISTRATORS,/ EXECUTORS AND ASSIGNS. REPRODUCTION BY ANY/ MEANS IS PROHIBITED EXEPT BY EXPRESS WRITTEN / CONSENT FOR EACH SPECIFIC USE."