Westminster Bridge in Progress

Impression: Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Number: 77
Date: 1861
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 150 x 352 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: '1861.'
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.72; M.74; W.70
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


It was never published.


Being so rare, it was hardly seen in exhibitions, though it was shown at two privately organised exhibitions. Described as 'Unfinished', an impression owned by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) was lent to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0720101) and later to the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900. 18 An impression was for sale by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in a show in 1898. 19

After Whistler's death, an impression was exhibited in the comprehensive show at the Grolier Club, New York in 1904. An impression was also lent by Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) to the Whistler Memorial exhibition in London in 1905. 20

18: New York 1881 (cat. no. 98); Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 65).

19: New York 1898 (cat. no. 67).

20: New York 1904a (cat. no. 73); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 70).


The only two extant impressions appear to have been signed and sold by Whistler about 1874. One was originally acquired by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0720101), probably around 1874, and another by Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), which was probably the one later owned by Fisher Howe (fl. 1880-1921) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0720102).
In 1892 Whistler wrote to Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), 'I went through the whole of my collection (a poor remnant after all!) with Mr. Kennedy last night - and Alas!, found no Westminster Bridge for you -' 21 This probably referred to Westminster Bridge in Progress since there were far more impressions of Old Westminster Bridge [47] available (Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought impressions in 1891, 1896, and 1898) - though it is possible that none were available in Whistler's own collection.

21: [December 1892?], GUW #09109.