Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet


It was bought from the Dowdeswell exhibition in 1884 by Miss van der Weyer, the sister of Lady Esher and daughter of Sylvain van de Weyer (1802-1874), one time Belgian minister of the Court of St James's. 1

Pink and Opal: Harbour, Colby College Museum of Art
Pink and Opal: Harbour, Colby College Museum of Art

The later history of this painting is not known, and has been confused with that of Pink and Opal: Harbour [YMSM 272].


  • 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 48) as 'Blue and opal – Herring Fleet'.

Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) praised the painting when it was exhibited in 1884: 'What a placid charm in that delicate, ghostly vision of the "Herring Fleet" (48)! Poetical, we should call it, only that to be poetical is to be literary'. 2


1: Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell to Whistler, [July 1885/1886], GUW #00867.

2: Wedmore 1884 [more]. Press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 6, p. 53.

Last updated: 13th December 2020 by Margaret