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Windsor (Memorial)

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
(1888.7)
Number: 313
Date: 1887
Medium: drypoint
Size: 132 x 96 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 6
Catalogues: K.329; M.324; W.247
Impressions taken from this plate  (6)
Windsor (Memorial) dates from 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. At that time Whistler was President of the Society of British Artists. The Pennells recorded Whistler's re-telling of the circumstances surrounding the creation of this etching:
'I found that the Academy and the Institute ... were preparing addresses to the Queen, and so I went to work too, and I prepared a most wonderful address ... I took a dozen folio sheets of my old Dutch paper. I had them bound by Zaehnsdorf. First came the beautiful binding in yellow morocco and the inscription to Her Majesty ... and on the first page you found a beautiful little drawing of the royal arms that I made myself ; the second page, an etching of Windsor, as though 'there's where you live!' On the third page the address began. I made decorations all round the text in water-colour, at the top the towers of Windsor, down one side a great battleship plunging through the waves, and below, the sun that never sets on the British Empire ... The following pages were not decorated, just the most wonderful address, explaining the age and dignity of the Society, its devotion to Her Glorious, Gracious Majesty, and suggesting the honour it would be if this could be recognised by a title that would show the Society to belong specially to Her. Then, the last page; you turned, and there was a little etching of my house at Chelsea — 'And now, here's where I live!' And then you closed it, and at the back of the cover was the Butterfly. This was all done and well on its way and not a word was said to the Society ... and finally came the Queen's acknowledgment and command that the Society should be called Royal— I carried this to a meeting and it was stormy. ... And then I got up with great solemnity, and I announced the honour conferred upon them by Her Gracious Majesty, and they jumped up and they rushed towards me with out-stretched hands ... the meeting over, then I sent for champagne," 1

1: Pennell 1911 A , pp. 261-262.