Signed LR: D. Spiegel Stamped LL: Federal Art Project NYC WPA Addt'l markings: signed on plate LL: D. Spiegel Inscribed LRC: 20 Original NY FAP label in file, stamped in blue: OCT 16 1939 Stamped in black: OCT 16 1939
Inscribed, verso bottom: Dorigen cursing the rocks, (in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales)/ A Study by Edward Burne-Jones for his water colour picture in the Ionides bequest V.+ A. Museum (mainly for the drapery)/ given to me soon after 1870 TM \ Rooke.
The south flank of a church is seen through the branches of leafless trees. A central tower over the entrance dominates the upper portion of the composition. In the foreground, a curving rail indicates a path leading up to the side of the building; seated just to the left of the church are several people seated on a park bench.
Whistler had proposed a series of lithographs of London churches but only St. Anne's and St. Giles-in-the-Fields were realized. Located in Soho, St. Giles was built by Henry Flitcroft between 1731-1733.
A man stands within a wooden building, postioned half-way down a deep vista that goes all the way through the building. At the far end of the passageway, a seated figure faces out looking at water and buildings on the opposite shore. The standing man's figure is illuminated by a bright (unseen) overhead light source, such as a skylight, and pairs of ladders are visible on either side of his figure. The foreground of the image consists of dark timbers that frame the view of the passageway and figures; beyond the man, the wooden architecture becomes a jumble of different sloped ceilings and walls, suggesting that this part of the building was constructed at different times or ad hoc.
Whistler repeatedly experimented with doorways framing views and with the dramatic chiaroscuro juxtapositions of light and dark passages. In this image of a warehouse in London, Whistler creates great visual tension between the densely worked timbers of the foreground 'frame' and the limpid quality of the light around the figure of Mr. Jones and the small triangle of light on the floor.
Three women sit just inside the doorway of a building shown frontally to the viewer. The doorway is framed by windows on either side within an archietctural framework that connects the windows and door with a dado under the windows. The women have a large piece of fabric laid over their laps on which they are working. The woman at the left is angled so that she is looking into the room; the other two look out at the viewer. The profile of a fourth woman is visible in the central window on the left side of the door.
Whistler's continuing interest in the arrangements of doorways and windows as a compositional focus dates back to his early work in the French Set. Here, the composition recalls some of his Venice etchings, such as "The Bead-Stringers", but is handled with the light, hair-like fine lines of the Amsterdam etchings. The result is an of evansecent, almost shimmering effect of light.