Price's Candle Factory

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 166
Date: 1876/1877
Medium: drypoint
Size: 153 x 229 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (6-8); replaced with new butterfly (9-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 13
Known impressions: 19
Catalogues: K.154; M.151; W.124
Impressions taken from this plate  (19)


Price's Candle Factory was not published.


Comparatively rarely exhibited, it was included in print dealer's shows by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and 1903 and by Obach & Co. in London in 1903. An impression was shown at the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540103). 14

After Whistler's death impressions were shown in the major Memorial Exhibitions including one at the Grolier Club in New York, another in Boston in 1904, and one from the Royal Collection was lent to the Whistler Memorial show in London in 1905. 15

14: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 112); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

15: New York 1904a (cat. no. 128); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 95); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 124).


In 1877 Whistler sold several impressions at £8.8.0 each to J. Hogarth & Sons, Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890), and the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. 16

Although there is little evidence of sales in subsequent years, one impression was trimmed and signed by Whistler in 1881, possibly for Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540301). It was many years before Whistler sold more, but in 1886 he apparently sold two to the London print dealer Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £8.8.0 and a year later he filled a bulk order from Messrs Dowdeswell, who bought seven impressions at the same price. 17

16: 22-27 October [1877], GUW #12737;12 October-5 November [1877], #12735; [19/22 October 1877], #12736.

17: [1 November 1886], GUW #13010; 28 April and 27 July 1887, GUW #13020 and #13024.

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought an impression from Wunderlich's in 1891 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540105). Whistler sold one at £8.8.0 and told Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), 'The Price's Candle is fine and rare - 1st state -'. 18

It is likely that all these impressions were trimmed and signed by Whistler at the time of sale, but the date of signing does not necessarily reflect the date of printing. The etching signed for Theobald, mentioned above, was a late state but was signed in 1881. On the other hand, an impression of the first state, presumably dating from 1877, was signed about 1886, and bought by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540110). A later state, signed about the same time, went to another New York collector, S. G. Cercha (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540302). Judson S. Dutcher (b. ca 1863) owned an early impression that was signed even later, in the 1890s (Graphic with a link to impression #K15403a) and also a much later state, but which had been trimmed and signed earlier, about 1885. Whistler did not sell them all - one, signed about 1886, remained in his collection (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540305).

18: Whistler to Kennedy, [4 July 1892], GUW #09689.

It is possible that the bulk of the Dowdeswell prints went to Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), for at the posthumous sale of Hutchinson's collection in 1892, there were six impressions for sale. At the sale a 'first state' was bought by the art critic Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921). Others were bought by print dealers: two states described as 'with additional work; before the monogram' and 'with the monogram, and more additional work' were bought by Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co.; and the three other impressions went to Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851), Keppel and Dunthorne respectively. The prices were lower than those Whistler received, being £2.5.0 each except for the last lot, which fetched a not very impressive £2.10.0. 19

Tracking these prints is not easy, though one first state with a Dowdeswell provenance was later owned by Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), then Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913), and, finally the Art Institute of Chicago (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540102). The slightly later state from the Hutchinson collection bought by Wedmore (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540206) eventually came to Colby College, Maine. Yet another was acquired by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), and later by the Library of Congress (Graphic with a link to impression #K1540402).

19: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 203-208).