The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: etching exhibition
Record 6 of 41

System Number: 07966
Date: 9 August 1878
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Alfred Chapman[1]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/15/4
Document Type: ALS

[roundel with head of Leonardo]


Aug 9th. 1878.

Dear Jack -

I sent you by last nights train thirteen more beautiful proofs[2] to choose from - viz:

[column on left:]
Little Pool[3] ..... 2 - 2 - 0
Smithfield[4] .... 2 - 2 - 0
Speke Avenue[5] ... 4 - 4 - 0
Temple Bar[6] ... 1 - 1 - 0
The little Forge[7] ... 6 - 6 - 0
Wych Street[8] ... 2 - 2 - 0
Guitar Player[9] ... 10-10-0
Hastings[10] ... 2 - 2 - 0
'Flo'[11] .... 6 - 6 - 0


[column on right:]
Amsterdam [12]... 2 - 2 - 0
Paris[13] ... 3 - 3 - 0
London Bridge[14]. 6 - 6 - 0
Storm[15] .... 5 - 5 - 0


[p. 2] You are quite right about the frames[16] - have them black - narrow - with a thin flat of gold - fine large white margin - the etching rather high (you will notice how I have mounted them myself) and the window mount cut close up to the plate itself - showing no margin of the etching paper -

like this [drawing[17], inscribed:] Window mount.
[written under drawing:] Frame -
not[18] like this. [drawing, inscribed:] Window mount -
[written under drawing:] Frame

In great haste with kindest regards to Miss Emmie[19],
Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

Whatever proofs you don't keep, send back like a good fellow nicely packed in the same paste boards - directed to 28. Wimpole Street[20] -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Alfred Chapman
Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), engineer and collector [more].

2.  proofs
Proofs are the first one or two impressions taken from a copper-plate for each state of the etching. Some of the etchings listed here by JW had been drawn up to twenty years earlier, but he may have kept a few 'printer's proofs' in stock, or he could have made alterations to the plate recently before printing 'proofs' of a new state of the etching. On the other hand, he might be misusing the term, to indicate any good impression.

3.  Little Pool
The Little Pool (K.74).

4.  Smithfield
Little Smithfield (K.160), a recent etching.

5.  Speke Avenue
Probably Speke Hall, No.1 (K.96).

6.  Temple Bar
Temple Bar (K.162), a recent etching.

7.  The little Forge
The Little Forge (K.147).

8.  Wych Street
Wych Street (K.159).

9.  Guitar Player
The Guitar Player (K.140).

10.  Hastings
Probably Fishing-Boats, Hastings (K.158).

11.  'Flo'
Florence Leyland (K.110).

12.  Amsterdam
Amsterdam from the Tolhuis (K.91), dated from 1863, but was re-worked and signed with a butterfly on the plate, probably in 1878.

13.  Paris
Isle de la Cité, Paris (K.60), dated from 1859.

14.  London Bridge
London Bridge (K.153).

15.  Storm
The Storm (K.81), dated from 1861.

16.  frames
JW was concerned that the etching itself should be emphasized, not the paper on which it was printed. A year later, when he went to Venice, he was to trim etchings right down to their plate mark. The black frame was superseded in the 1880s by a white frame with inlaid brown lines.

17.  drawing
Framed etchings (M.703). The etching shown is not a specific one, but suggests a river scene with a boat in the foreground, in narrow landscape format.

18.  not
Double underlined.

19.  Miss Emmie
Probably a relative of Chapman.

20.  28. Wimpole Street
The address of William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].