Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cremorne Gardens

Dream last night... You and I are at the waterfront, an open space, to see fireworks that are about to begin. It's very dark, after nightfall. Others are there too. We are all standing. You have put your arms around me. Black sky, tumultuous moonlit clouds. Fireworks rumble in the distance, across the expanse of water, but we don't see them. It's not that they are obscured by clouds so much as that they’re too far away, although we can hear them.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights, 1872, Tate Gallery, London

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, 1875, Detroit Institute of Art

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Fire Wheel, 1875, Tate Gallery, London
From Tate Collection display caption: This is one of the nocturnes that Whistler painted of Cremorne Gardens, at the west end of Chelsea beside the river Thames. The gardens were popular as a place of amusement, offering concerts, dancing and, as in this painting, a nightly display of fireworks. Cremorne was closed in 1877 due to repeated complaints from the neighbourhood about the noise and rowdiness. Whistler’s nocturnes provide a sense of the tranquility of the Thames at night, and are far removed from the teeming waterfront of the day.

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