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