The Pool


James McBey, The Pool, 1914

James McBey (1883-1959), The Pool, etching and drypoint, 1914, signed in pen lower right and numbered (I) lower left margin. Reference: Hardie 150. [also signed and dated June 1914 in the plate lower right]. From the edition of 50 (plus proofs). In very good condition, with margins, printed on laid white paper, 9 1/2 x 14 1/8, the sheet 11 1/8 x 15 5/8 inches.

Provenance: Harris Whittemore (Lugt 1384a, with his stamp lower left recto]

A fine impression, with much burr from the drypoint work.

McBey made about nine states of one impression each in the evolution of The Pool; most changes were minor, and the last few were touches of drypoint on and under some of the barges, and on some of the people; he also burnished marks in the water in his later proof impressions. This impression is numbered I, from the edition of fifty.

This is the Pool of London, from a warehouse near the south end of the Tower Bridge, looking toward warehouses and wharves on the north bank. It is not the Thames of Whistler, calm, unruffled, but a river of bustling activity.

Martin Hardie wrote, comparing The Pool to McBey’s The Lion Brewery, “Both have made record prices for the artist’s work in the saleroom….Decorative, attractive, masterly though [The Lion Brewery] it be, I cannot allow, for a moment that it has the vital significance and atmosphere of The Pool.  In this latter plate you find, stronger and intensified, the feeling of life and movement that began with the Moroccan Set; and movement is a very subtle thing to capture in a network of etched lines.”


McBey – The Pool, detail


McBey, The Pool, detail