Whistler’s Jubilee Set in a Diamond Jubilee Year

More than 120 years ago, 1887 marked the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria. James Whistler, then president of the Royal Society of British Artists, was invited to attend the Naval Review celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee on July 23. He created 12 etchings during the day’s festivities, and those images were never published, but were sold or given by the artist as a set.
James A.M. Whistler, from the Jubilee or Naval Review Set, etchings, all 1887.
According to our specialists, a complete set of all 12 etchings has never come to auction. In fact, the group of six etchings from the Jubilee or Naval Review Set that’s being offered in our April 25 sale of Old Master through Modern Prints is the most complete set ever to appear at auction. 

This year marks the Diamond Jubilee (60 years) of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and fine art is taking center stage in those celebrations: among several exhibitions throughout the UK, the National Portrait Gallery in London will be showing iconic images of the Queen, both traditional and challenging. Whistler honored Queen Victoria in 1887 with etchings that celebrated the strength of the British fleet… it will be interesting to see what new art comes out of this year’s Jubilee.