Entrance to the Mersey

Frank Sir Short, 1890

WAG 8342

About this object

By 1890 Liverpool had 14 working docks, with ambitions to develop more. In a simple horizontal composition, this distant panoramic view of the port of Liverpool shows ship masts and the chimneys of ironworks and factories in minute etched lines. But the water is left almost blank, reminiscent of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s (1834-1903) etchings of the River Thames. In his ‘Old Westminster Bridge’ (1859), Whistler leaves the water’s surface almost un-etched to achieve an illusion of the river’s vast luminosity. Short also creates a sense of immense space through the economy of line.

Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Trustees of the Estate of Miss Dorothea Short in 1973, No. 8342

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Sir Frank Short (British, born:19 June 1857, died:22 April 1945)
  • Date
    1890
  • Materials
    Etching; Japanese vellum paper
  • Measurements
    10.3 x 25.5 cm
  • Physical description
    An etching of a distant panoramic view of the shore of Liverpool on the River Mersey. Printed on a horizontally elongated paper, the image appears primarily as a horizontal line across the paper, indicating the series of docks that line the port city of Liverpool, as if seen from a ship entering the Mersey estuary from the Irish Sea. The right half of the line shows more details with a multitude of masts of ships docked in Liverpool and tall chimneys of nearby works and factories. The river takes up the entire lower half of the canvas, minimally etched.
  • Related people
    Sir Frank Short (Artist/maker, previous owner); Trustees of the Estate of Dorothea Short (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 8342
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Trustees of the Estate of Miss Dorothea Short in 1973.
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Trustees of the Estate of Dorothea Short

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1973
    Disposal method: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery
  • Sir Frank Short

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: ENTRANCE TO THE MERSEY
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note: Two middle words -- to the -- appear smaller than the other words.
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right; On plate
  • Inscription text: FRANK SHORT
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Below plate; Front; Lower left
  • Inscription text: S [inside a small shield]
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right; On plate
  • Inscription text: Hardie 250
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back; Lower left
Object view = Fine Art
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