J. Becquet, Sculptor

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 62
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 257 x 194 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 96
Catalogues: K.52; M.52; T.54; W.48
Impressions taken from this plate  (96)
Etching: PK052_01 (plate)
A vertical copper plate with a distinct bevel, this is one of only two known to have been acquired in Paris from Juéry in the rue de la Huchette. It has the maker's stamp of M. JUERY / 27, RUE DE LA / HUCHETTE / PARIS' on the verso. The other is a smaller copper plate, La Mère Gérard [24], which probably dates from the autumn of 1858.
As Thomas noted, 'At the bottom, some guns, etc, can be traced, showing that there was originally something else on the plate'. 18 This was not, as one might have assumed from the military subject, a plate used by Whistler earlier, while he was at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The maker's mark suggests it was used by someone else in France before Whistler acquired it.

18: Thomas 1874 (cat. no. 54).

One copper plate, En Plein Soleil [11], bought from another merchant on the rue de la Huchette, Godard, also bears traces of an earlier composition by an unknown artist. It is possible that Juéry or Godard or another merchant sold used copper plates, and that Whistler bought several second-hand plates to save money.

Juéry may have not only sold but published copper plates : an etching of studies for La Tricoteuse by Jean Baptiste Millet (1831-1906), dating from the 1850s, bears the stamp of 'M JUÉRY / 27, RUE DE LA / HUCHETTE/ PARIS, so it is likely that the firm published the copper plate. 19

J. Becquet, sculptor was the only portrait published with the 'Thames Set' in 1871 and clearly it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Thames!

19: British Museum 1881,1112.147, on (accessed 2012).

After publication the copper plate was cancelled with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines. The plate was acquired by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1896 and bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art. 20

20: Acc. No. 1896.9.