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An American in London: Whistler and the Thames


As London became a modern city in the late nineteenth century, its population surged, and industry and commerce altered the look and feel of streets and neighborhoods. Entire areas were torn down and rebuilt. Familiar landmarks and views were altered—or they disappeared altogether—as factories, bridges, and housing blocks rose in their place. Photographers and artists responded to these changes, often showing the unsettling juxtaposition of old and new.

Use this 1853 map to view London in the nineteenth century. Each pin approximates Whistler’s vantage point or the location of a photograph of the city.

Unless otherwise noted, all of these works are by James McNeill Whistler. They are the Gift of Charles Lang Freer and are now in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art.

1853 map

The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.