A Sketch of Shipping

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 57
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 154 x 228 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 20
Catalogues: K.151; M.48; T.84; W.127
Impressions taken from this plate  (20)


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


Rare, and rarely exhibited, it was shown in a print dealer's shows by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 (when it was bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919)) and 1903. 6

Impressions were shown in the memorial exhibitions after Whistler's death. One was included in the Grolier Club show in New York in 1904, and one was lent by John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908) to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 7

6: New York 1898 (cat. no. 110); New York 1903b (cat. no. 95). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

7: New York 1904a (cat. no. 131);London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 127).


Only one impression of this etching before cancellation has been located, and it was acquired by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) from H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510103). Freer had already, in 1893, bought an impression in the cancelled set from Knoedler & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510202).
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 #K1510206). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) also acquired a set in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510213) which later went to Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Early owners included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), whose impression later went to the Baltimore Museum of Art (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510205). Boston Public Library also acquired a set (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510208). A set acquired by J. Littauer (fl. 1896), Munich was sold to the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1896 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1510209).
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. 8 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 #K1510204).

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