- 23 August 1887 indicates a precise date.
- 1888 : the etching definitely dates from that year.
- October/November 1879: the etching was made between these two months.
- 1879/1879 : the etching was made at some time between these years.
- 1870-1879 : the etching was worked on at intervals, but not necessarily continuously, between these dates.
Dating an Etching
1: Whistler, to T. McLean, 17 November 1887, GUW #13016.
2: J. Whistler, list, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233; [1890/1891], #13236; B. Whistler, list [1890/1892], #12715.
Etchings not included in Wedmore's catalogue may be of a later date than his first publication of 1886, or of the second edition of 1899. 4
Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) based his dating particularly on the information written by the artist on etchings in the collection of S.P. Avery, and now in New York Public Library. 5 Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) was following Whistler's work closely from the late 1880s. 6 Both knew Whistler and were in touch with him regarding the identity of etchings, with Kennedy in particular buying impressions straight off the press, and Mansfield ordering impressions directly from Whistler. Thus the chronological arrangement of their catalogues has a basis in personal knowledge but is sometimes flawed.
When later writers, such as Lochnan and Getscher, have grouped or dated etchings, their suggestions contribute to the final dating in our catalogue. 7
3: Thomas, Ralph, A Catalogue of the Etchings and Drypoints of James Abbott MacNeil Whistler, London, 1874.
4: Wedmore, Sir Frederick, Whistler's Etchings: a Study and a Catalogue, London, 1886; Wedmore, Sir Frederick, Whistler's Etchings: a Study and a Catalogue, 2nd ed., revised, London, 1899.
5: Mansfield, Howard, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etchings and Dry-Points of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Chicago, 1909.
6: Kennedy, Edward G., The Etched Work of Whistler, New York, 1910.
7: Lochnan, Katharine A., The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1984; Getscher, Robert Harold, Whistler and Venice, Ph.D. dissertation, Case Western University, Cleveland, 1970.