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Whistler 2003 - Centenary Journal

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5th August 2003 - The Whistler Memorial Statue Appeal

The Whistler Memorial Statue
The Whistler Memorial Statue

Soon after Whistler's death, on 17th July 1903, members of the Chelsea Arts Club, of which he had been a founder member, proposed to erect a memorial to him in Chelsea, but the plan came to nothing. With his place in the history of Art, which was never in doubt, now entirely secure, the centenary of his death is more than appropriate a moment to celebrate his achievement.

The proposed site, for which planning permission has been granted, is on Cheyne Walk, on a small landscaped area at the north-west (upstream) corner of Battersea Bridge, close to where Whistler often worked. It faces a stretch of the river often known as ‘Whistler’s Reach’.

It is also directly opposite 96 Cheyne Walk, which was for a while one of Whistler’s homes in Chelsea, and is now marked by a commemorative plaque. It is also close to the site of 74 Cheyne Walk, where he died.

The proposal includes the creation of a small paved piazza and the planting of a hedge to enclose the site from the traffic. The statue will be tall enough for it to be seen from the bridge and the river, above the hedge and embankment wall.

The statue is to be in bronze, somewhat more than life-size, and fixed to a granite plinth. Nicholas Dimbleby, who won the commission in competition, has said of his proposal:

'I intend to make the whole piece very impressionistic, as if Whistler himself had made his own self-portrait in clay. He is facing south-west, but turning abruptly to his left towards Battersea Bridge. A swirl of water at the base suggests the river. He holds a book close to his chest in the crook of his left arm'

The Appeal needs to raise £150,000 to complete this project. Any amount raised in excess of this will be used to establish a Whistler Scholarship for the study of the fine or applied arts.

A copy of the donation form is available on this site which can be printed and sent to the Appeal address.

The Whistler Memorial Statue Appeal


The Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo M.P.
Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea

Professor Phillip King C.B.E.
President of the Royal Academy of Arts

Don Grant
Chairman of Chelsea Arts Club


David Le Lay (Chairman)
Phillip Roberts (Treasurer)
The Viscountess Bridgeman
Tim Hollier
William Packer