The Letter (Maud, seated)

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 116
Date: 1873
Medium: drypoint
Size: 140 x 101 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 8
Catalogues: K.115; M.114; W.100
Impressions taken from this plate  (8)


It was never published.


It was rare and rarely seen in exhibitions. Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent his impression to a show at the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150101). 10

An impression was shown by the New York print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150203) and bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), who then lent it to an exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900. 11

10: New York 1881 (cat. no. 128). See REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.

11: New York 1898 (cat. no. 94); Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 94).

After Whistler's death, another impression was shown at the London Memorial exhibition in 1905. 12

12: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 100).


In November 1877 Whistler sold 'Little Maud' to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) for £1.1.0. 13 This may be the only record of a sale. There is the possibility that a print sold as 'Miss Franklin' to the London print dealer Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £6.6.0 was this, but the price seems a little high; so it could have been another portrait of Maud Franklin such as Maud, Standing [169]. 14

13: 16-21 November 1877, GUW #12740.

14: 1 November 1886, GUW #13010.

Early owners of impressions included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150101); James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) and Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150102); and Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150201). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) bought an impression that had been returned to Whistler in the mid-1880s for signature (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150302). Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought Haden's impression through Wunderlich's in 1898, having already bought a later state in 1893 from Max Williams & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150203).