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Sir Garnet Wolseley

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 177
Date: 1877
Medium: drypoint
Size: 305 x 177 mm
Signed: butterfly at left (5-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 7
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.164; M.166; W.138
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


This is pure drypoint. There are what might be considered working proofs of the early states, some of which were extensively touched up with wash. According to Wedmore: 'Mr Menpes has an impression of this rare and vigorous sketch in dry-point, touched by Whistler in water colour.' 18 In this proof, there are touches of white gouache on the nose, cheek, moustache, beard and jaw (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640102). Another working proof is touched with grey wash on the eyes, cheekbone, moustache, throat and back outline of the head, and there is a large curved area of wash from the eye to shoulder; and vertical strokes along the shoulder at right (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640203).

18: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 138).


Under ten impressions are known, most printed in black ink, although two late impressions are in dark brown (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640102, Graphic with a link to impression #K1640403). In printing, Whistler frequently used surface tone and fully inked lines to give a rich and dramatic effect. The drypoint lines were enriched by quite heavy, and sometimes uneven, tone in several impressions (i.e. Graphic with a link to impression #K1640z02).
Several impressions are printed on laid paper, the first state on cream laid 'antique' (pre-1800) paper with a 'Pro Patria' watermark (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640102), and two (states 2 and 6) with an Arms of Amsterdam watermark (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640203, Graphic with a link to impression #K1640403). The final impression, lightly printed in brown ink with little tone, was on ivory laid paper, trimmed and signed on the tab with a butterfly and 'imp.' to show that Whistler had printed it (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640402). The signature dates from the 1890s, which may indicate that Whistler returned to the plate and printed it at that time, or just that he trimmed and signed it at that time. With one exception (Graphic with a link to impression #K1640201) - and this is not certain, because it has not been located - the earlier impressions are not trimmed.