William Lionel Wyllie and the Thames
|London and the artist at work|
He kept these for reference when making paintings, watercolours or etchings. Many are among the 7000 drawings that make up the Wyllie collection in the National Maritime Museum.
These buildings housed the collection of naval paintings assembled in the early part of the 19th century, and included Turner's famous painting of the Battle of Trafalgar. This collection would have been of great interest to a marine painter like Wyllie.
Events on the Thames
In 1894 Wyllie and his wife were present at the opening of the newly built Tower Bridge. He painted a large picture of the event (now in the Guildhall Art Gallery). Through this he became friendly with the architect of the bridge, Sir John Wolfe-Barry.
The black-and-white drawing was probably made as an illustration for The Graphic.
Tower Bridge became one of Wyllie's favourite Thames subjects.
This watercolour shows how Wyllie worked rapidly in the medium and tested his colours around the edge of his piece of paper.
'Marine Painting in Watercolour', 1901
The Providence appears in the painting Storm and Sunshine and it is likely that Wyllie used this watercolour when painting that picture.
He also used it as a colour plate in his book Marine Painting in Watercolour, 1901.
This is a manual to teach people how to paint in watercolours using Wyllie's own watercolours as examples to be copied.
This view of shipping in Greenwich Reach was commissioned by the print publisher, Robert Dunthorne.
In his early prints Wyllie used the etching process simply, to make bold images such as this.
As his interest in printmaking developed, the processes he used became increasingly elaborate.
This large print is based on the painting that Wyllie exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896.
It shows how he was becoming increasingly interested in conveying atmospheric effects in his etchings.
To achieve this he often combined etching with drypoint. In etching, the marks on the printing plate that hold the ink are made by immersing the plate in acid. In drypoint, the artist scratches directly on the plate with a sharp tool.
Tower Bridge, late 1920s
In it he returned to a favourite subject, and used an upright composition that he may have learnt from Whistler many years before.
In order to achieve the effects he wanted, Wyllie made his prints in a series of stages, or 'states', printing copies as he went along.
It is sometimes possible to trace the development of a print through a number of different stages.
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