Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea could date from 1871 but was probably completed in the following year, 1872. 1
1871: It is similar in style to Variations in Violet and Green [YMSM 104], which is signed and dated '71', and the frames are very similar.
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881) mentioned that in the summer of 1871, four recent paintings, probably including Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea [YMSM 103], Variations in Violet and Green [YMSM 104] and Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea [YMSM 105], 'took Jemie out often[,] work in the open air was like the renewal of Etching & gave zest to Studio at intervals.' 2 However, she also implied that some of these were painted from the window of their house in Lindsey Row. 3
The interrupted wall and hoarding suggest that it was painted during the construction of the Chelsea Embankment between Chelsea Hospital and Battersea Bridge. A report in The Times of 7 August 1871, which describes the laying of the foundation stone of the Chelsea Embankment, states that 'the roadway will be planted on each side with trees', and according to The Times, trees were already growing there by 11 October 1871.
1872: The painting shows blossoming trees, so a date of spring 1872 for the completion of the paintings seems likely.
1873: It was first exhibited in 7th Winter Exhibition of Cabinet Pictures in Oil, Dudley Gallery, London, 1873 (cat. no. 193).
Last updated: 16th December 2020 by Margaret