The panel appears to have been prepared with a pale grey ground. The panel may have been placed in a paint box, or frame of some sort, or held on an easel, and the paint does not extend fully to the margins at left and right. It was painted carefully, with the brushstrokes pointed and jerky instead of flowing. Whistler appears to have been fascinated by the various details of the shops, their signs and wares, their bricks and panelling, and figures caught in movement – a child running on the right, a figure bending down, in the centre – and concentrated on harmonising the colours and textures, rather than enjoying the fluidity of the paint.
The edges are slightly abraded, probably by the frame. The varnish was removed in 1921; it was cleaned and varnished in 1937, and resurfaced in the following year and again in 1951. According to a conservation report by the Freer Gallery, a butterfly in the lower left corner was almost obliterated when the painting was resurfaced and cradled in 1938.
1884: Large Dowdeswell, 1884 [14.1 cm]. 1
Framed for the 1884 Dowdeswell exhibition.
Last updated: 31st December 2020 by Margaret