Ratcliffe Highway

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 65
Date: 1859/1861
Medium: drypoint
Size: 152 x 226 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.80; M.81; T.63; W.74
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


Ratcliffe Highway was never published.


In 1881 an impression was lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) to the Union League Club in New York as 'Heads. Sailor’s dance house' and described as 'Unfinished' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800101). 8 After this it was rarely exhibited.

Impressions appeared in the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800101). 9 It was shown in two print dealers' shows, by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 at the sale of the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800102) and again in 1903. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought the impression from Wunderlich's in 1898.

8: New York 1881 (cat. no. 103); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

9: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 69).

Finally, impressions were shown after the artist's death, at the Whistler Memorial Exhibitions in the Grolier Club, New York, in 1904 and London in 1905. 10

10: New York 1904a (cat. no. 77); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 74).


The rare impressions of Ratcliffe Highway were bought by a few major collectors and collections, and passed from one major collector to another. Thus the British Museum bought one in 1872 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800104). Another was bought in the early 1870s by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800101) and passed later with his unique collection to New York Public Library.
A print listed as 'Heads Various' was bought directly from Whistler by Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877 but this vague title might equally have referred to Portrait sketches including F.R. Leyland and Whistler [122], Sketches of Heads [138] or Two studies of women [271]. 11

An impression from the collection of Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was the only one sold at auction, at Sotheby's on 3 March 1892 (lot 126), when it was bought by Deprez & Gutekunst for £5.5.0, and passed in due course to Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800103). A few years later, an impression owned by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) was bought from H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0800102).

11: Howell to Whistler, [6-15 November 1877], and Whistler to Howell, [16/21 November 1877], GUW #02178, #12740.