The Old Swan Brewery, Chelsea

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 105
Date: 1872/1873
Medium: etching
Size: 67 x 99 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 12
Catalogues: K.98; M.97; W.89
Impressions taken from this plate  (12)


It was not published.


It was first exhibited in the Union League Club in New York in 1881, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), as '“The Swan”, Chelsea. Only state, 1872.' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980112). 16

Later it was for sale in exhibitions by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York, in 1898 and 1903, and by Obach & Co. in London, also in 1903. It also starred in a show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, as '“Swan” Brewery', where both Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) lent impressions (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980102 and Graphic with a link to impression #K0980103). 17

16: New York 1881 (cat. no. 118).

17: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 84, 84a); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

After Whistler's death it was shown in Memorial Exhibitions, including the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and, lent by King Edward VII, at the London Memorial show in 1905. 18

18: New York 1904a (cat. no. 93); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 89).


Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) owned an impression by 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980112). This is the earliest recorded owner, though Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) must have been among the earliest owners. At the Hutchinson sale in 1892, an impression was bought by the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for only £0.17.0. 19

19: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 142).

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought an impression from Wunderlich's on 9 March 1899 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980103). It had clearly been recently signed by Whistler. Wunderlich's then replenished their stocks, buying an impression as 'Swan Brewery' from Whistler in April 1900 for £4.4.0. 20 This may have been the impression owned by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980102) or Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980106).

20: Wunderlich & Co. to Whistler, 6 April 1900, GUW #07322.

Two impressions were left by Whistler to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed them to the University of Glasgow; they kept one (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980104) and sold another (Graphic with a link to impression #K0980108).