Speke Hall: The Avenue

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 101
Date: 1870-1878
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 228 x 152 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right (1-12); butterfly lower left (11-12); both removed (13-final)
Inscribed: '1870. / Speke Hall.' at lower right
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 14
Known impressions: 22
Catalogues: K.96; M.95; W.86
Impressions taken from this plate  (22)


Fourteen states are known before cancellation.

State 1

Impression: K0960103
Signed 'Whistler 1870. / Speke Hall.' at lower right.
The house-front below the two gables at the left is blank, except for faint indications of a doorway and a railing. In the foreground to left of centre stands a woman seen from the back, turning and holding up her skirt with her left hand. In the distance at left, much nearer to the house, there is the faint suggestion of another woman.

State 2

Impression: K0960204
The skirt of the woman in the foreground has been broadened to right; and the outline of the skirt at left has been reinforced; short diagonal lines are added to the shading on the woman's shoulders and back, and slanting lines, from left to right (\\\), between the trees to right of the house.

State 3

Impression: K0960203
Diagonal shading is added on the skirt at right; the dark collar is extended at left; short lines are added below the elbow at right; the shadow from her left arm is extended, and diagonal, slightly curving lines cross her waistline to right.

State 4

Impression: K0960202
The figure has been partly burnished out and altered, making her shoulders more rounded, and her waist lower; her back is shaded more softly and evenly; dark shading suggests the skirt is gathered in a train at the back.

State 5

Impression: K0960302
The figure is further softened and altered; the hat is partly removed and the head is slightly bent forward; the skirt is narrowed below the hips and pulled up in front, curving out at the hem at left.

State 6

Impression: K0960402
The figure is entirely removed.

State 7

Impression: K0960502
A smaller woman, in drypoint, stands in profile, facing to the left and looking down, her left arm by her side; she wears a close-fitting bodice that runs smoothly into a narrow skirt with a short train; the train sweeps forward, as if she is turning round; her fitted sleeves are slightly full at the top; she wears a hat with medium brim and low flat crown, decorated with a ribbon.
This was Kennedy's fifth state, but the impression he reproduced, which has not been located, was either very lightly inked or poorly reproduced. 12

12: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 96 V).

State 8

Impression: K0960605
The house-front, except between two trees at the extreme left, is virtually finished, showing the broad entrance archway, and a fence leading up to it at left; there is darker foliage on the bushes at the centre of the house-front, and more shading on the trees at left; the woman's hat is trimmed with ribbon and feathers, the jacket has a fur collar, her bodice and skirt are widened, the skirt is trimmed with pleats, gathered in at the sides and at the back, and the train, held in her left hand, sweeps round to the front at right.

State 9

Impression: K0960604
The woman is wearing a close-fitting jacket trimmed at neck and hem with fur or feathers, and a ribbon below her neck.
The impression reproduced has extensive additions in wash extending the trimming on the hat and the width of the skirt, and darkening and enriching the whole figure, as well as suggesting the edge of the avenue at left (Graphic with a link to impression #K0960604).

State 10

Impression: K0960702
There is new work on the trunks of the trees at left, between the trees at right, and on the roof and timbering on the gable between the two trees at the extreme left; short lines extend the fur trim of the woman's jacket at neck, waist and hem; short lines suggest the edge of the grass and path.

State 11

Impression: K0960802
Signed with a butterfly at lower left.

State 12

Impression: K0960901
The woman's right arm emerges in a curve behind her jacket at right; the front of the skirt has either been rubbed down or is fading.

State 13

Impression: K0960903
The figure, signature and butterfly are almost entirely removed; the top of the central bush in front of the house is partly rubbed down; the clouds have faded.

State 14

Impression: K0961001
The figure, signature and butterfly are removed; the clouds have disappeared; most of the windows have small diamond-shaped panes; diagonal and vertical shading is added behind the trees at right.

State 14 (cancelled)

Etching: PS_K096_01 (plate)
Cancelled with a diagonal line.

No impression from the cancelled plate is known. This is a digital image based on the copper plate. 13

13: A scan of the copper plate was flipped horizontally, converted to greyscale, and colour inverted, with enhanced contrast.