Whistler's Mother

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 103
Date: 1871
Medium: drypoint
Size: 256 x 156 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 20
Catalogues: K.97; M.99; W.88
Impressions taken from this plate  (20)
Etching: PK097_01 (plate)
The copper plate has no maker's mark. It was not like any other plate in size. It was cancelled with closely packed deep lines, possibly made with a scraper, across the face, and more widely spaced lines on the figure. The cancelled copper plate was probably among plates bought at Whistler's bankruptcy sale by the Fine Art Society, London. It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.
The copper plate was probably among those acquired from Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851), by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), who explained, 'A number of these plates were returned to me after the artist's death by Robert Dunthorne of Vigo Street, London in exchange for a number of lithographic proofs'. 4 In 1931, at the request of Miss Philip, seven plates including this one were cleaned by Nathaniel Sparks (1880-1956) at 32 Rosenau Road. 5 The plate was given by Miss Philip to the University of Glasgow in 1935.

4: Note by R. Birnie Philip, inserted in the album, Hunterian Art Gallery.

5: Martin Hopkinson, 'Nathaniel Sparks's Printing of Whistler's Etchings', Print Quarterly, 1999, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 340, 349.