The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: mezzotint
Record 18 of 18

System Number: 12353
Date: 1 July 1902
Author: Christopher Head[1]
Place: [London]
Recipient: Harry[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published[3]
Document Type: PLc

July 1st. 1902.

My dear Harry,

Graves does not in this note explain the reason why the proof was not signed by Jose (the engraver)[4] & Whistler as the others were. Whistler came down one day with his own ink and paper & told them that he alone knew the proper way to print from a plate. Up till then he had only printed etchings & did not know that a darker ink is required for a mezzotint. Hence the result is that, tho' the impression is a fine one, it is too light & Whistler not knowing the reason, & the printer somewhat naturally not being inclined to tell him, told Graves[5] to tear it up. This Graves did not do & as I wanted a proof for you & none other was to be had, he consented to let me have it.


Christopher Head.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Christopher Head
Christopher Head, paper maker.

2.  Algernon Graves
Algernon Graves (1845-1922), of H. Graves and Co., print dealers [more].

3.  Published
This note was written on the verso of another (A. Graves to C. Head, 24 June 1902, #12331). Published in Campbell Fine Art Catalogue No. 2, London, February 1990 (lot 405) and sold with the mezzotint, see below).

4.  Harry
Harry, perhaps a print collector or dealer.

5.  Jose (the engraver)
A misspelling of Richard Josey (1840-1906), reproductive engraver [more]. The proof was a mezzotint copy of JW's portrait Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137).

6.  Graves
Algernon Graves (1845-1922), of H. Graves and Co., print dealers [more]. The mezzotint was published by the firm in 1878.