Speke Shore

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 139
Date: 1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 155 x 230 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 21
Catalogues: K.144; M.142; W.119
Impressions taken from this plate  (21)


Speke Shore was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.


The first recorded exhibition of Speke Shore was by the New York print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898. 10 Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent his 'First state; first proof' to the show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, and to the Boston Whistler Memorial show of 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440101). 11

After Whistler's death, first and second states were shown in the comprehensive show at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904. Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) lent an impression to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 12 Unfortunately these have not been identified.

10: New York 1898 (cat. no. 102).

11: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 107); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 90). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

12: New York 1904a (cat. nos. 123, 123b); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 119).


On 19 October 1877 Whistler sold an impression of 'Speke Shore' through Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) to the London print dealer, Jane Noseda (b. 1813 or 1814) for £3.3.0. 13 Howell also noted that he had 'Speke Shore 1st' (meaning the first proof or first state) in his collection. 14

The only surviving impression of the first state is said to have come from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) and was sold through H. Wunderlich & Co. to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440102).

13: 12 October-5 November [1877], GUW #12735.

14: [November 1877], GUW #02180.

In Whistler's bankruptcy sale at Sotheby's on 12 February 1880, lot 81 contained The Forge [86], Battersea Reach [96] and either Speke Hall: The Avenue [101] or Speke Shore, described in the catalogue as 'Lady with dog'. The buyer is recorded as 'Howe', presumably Howell. Thomas Way (1837-1915) reported on the sale: 'Your works have sold very well - The Etchings of The Forge - Speke & Battersea fetched - Twenty pounds ten shillings'. 15

15: 12 February 1880, GUW #06080; annotated sale catalogue, British Library.

At the sale of the important collection of Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) at Sotheby's on 3 March 1892, lot 162, also listed as the 'first proof', was bought by the art dealer Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £4.17.6. It may have been this impression that was acquired by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440101) and lent to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in Boston in 1904.
Wedmore noted that 'Mr Theobald has an impression of this scarce sketch in dry-point.' Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) lent this to the Whistler Memorial show in London in 1905. 16 Other early collectors included Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440401); Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440202, Graphic with a link to impression #K1440402) and Atherton Curtis (1863-1944) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440403).

16: Wedmore 1899 (cat. no. 119).

Surviving impressions from the cancelled plate are often in the album as published in 1879. For instance, the British Museum bought an album in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440505), and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a set from Knoedler & Co. in 1893 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440502). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) also acquired a set in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440511) which later went to Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Boston Public Library acquired a set (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440507). A set owned by J. Littauer, Munich, was sold to the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1896 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1440508).
Prices were low but collectors and collections were keen to have the set of cancelled etchings, as a record of a substantial number of otherwise unrecorded etchings and drypoints. A set, probably acquired from the Fine Art Society by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892), was auctioned in 1889 and bought by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £0.6.0. 17 Dunthorne exchanged it for other works with Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow (see Graphic with a link to impression #K1440503).

17: Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1889 (lot 787 or 789).