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Description, Sitters and Sites


A brief description of the image in the early state of an etching is given, to clarify the images and the different states of an etching, and to point out aspects of the scene that may not be imediately obvious.


Individuals or groups of people are identified briefly, linking to a summary of their dates and profession. In addition, significant figures (ie, artists, patrons, collectors) are linked to biographies containing additional information. These biographies are intended to cover links between Whistler, his family, fellow-artists, and collectors in the context of etching and printmaking. They are not intended to be comprehensive biographies, since the viewer can easily consult such resources as the National Dictionary of Biography, and Encyclopaedia Britannica on-line.
Occasionally it has not been possible to identify a sitter, or there is considerable doubt about the identity of a model, and in these cases the clues and confusions arising are discussed as fully as possible. The etching reproduced below, for instance, is proving a problem!
Impression: K0630102
Mr Mann [73]


Whistler sometimes gave the site of an etching in the title or other documentary sources, and early cataloguers added the sites, where known, and sometimes from information given by the artist. This information was not always accurate, and has been checked as fully as possible. The sites shown in Whistler's etchings are explored, described and reproduced when possible, and old photographs as well as contemporary photographs, and full references to such sources, are also given.
The exact position of the site represented is given wherever possible. Whistler's etchings were usually drawn on site, and thus the views, accurately drawn on the copper plates, were reversed in printing. For research, the images were digitally reversed to help in identifying sites. Contemporary postal directories, guidebooks, maps and photographs were used to help in identifying buildings and views. Places that were etched by Whistler, and in particular, areas of Paris, Venice and London, were explored by the researchers to identify and confirm views and establish if they were still the same. Many sites, particularly in London, and other cities, have changed radically, though a suprising number in other cities such as Venice remain virtually unchanged. Since Whistler etched on site, the views appear in reverse when printed.
Impression: K0660202
[comparative image]
The Thames and Tower Bridge from The Angel