Wych Street, London

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 176
Date: 1877
Medium: etching
Size: 216 x 139 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 12
Catalogues: K.159; M.156; W.132
Impressions taken from this plate  (12)


Wych Street, London was not published.


An impression from the collection of Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) was exhibited at the Union League Club in New York in 1881 as 'Old Houses (Wych St., London) 1877', described as a 'trial proof' (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590201). 15

In New York, impressions were shown by the print dealers, H. Wunderlich & Co., in 1898 and 1903. 16 The one exhibited in 1898 was probably that bought by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) and lent to the exhibition organised by Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590102). 17

After Whistler's death, impressions were exhibited in the Whistler Memorial Exhibitions, at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and in Paris and London in 1905. The Royal Collection lent an impression to the Memorial Exhibition in London. 18

15: New York 1881 (cat. no. 142). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

16: New York 1898 (cat. no. 112); New York 1903b (cat. no. 99).

17: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 117).

18: New York 1904a (cat. no. 135); Paris Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 345); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 132).


Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) bought two impressions in November 1877 for £7.0.0 (that is, £3.50 each), which were listed by Whistler as 'Wych Street No. 1' and 'Wych Street No. 2' (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590203, Graphic with a link to impression #K1590202). One of these three was apparently returned on 17 November, but two days later Howell sold the other on Whistler's behalf for £1.1.0. The discrepancy in price is not explained. 19 These may have been the impressions acquired by Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938) and from him, through Obach & Co., by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590203, Graphic with a link to impression #K1590202).

Whistler offered one among 'thirteen more beautiful proofs' of a selection of prints to another private collector, Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), in 1878 for £2.2.0, but it is not known if Chapman took it. 20 Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) owned an impression that, judging by the butterfly signature, dates from around 1878 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590103). It was later owned by Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913) and passed from him to the Art Institute of Chicago.

19: Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) to Whistler, [6-25 Nov. 1877], GUW #02178; Whistler to Howell, 14-16 Nov. [1877], #13668, and [16/21 Nov.1877], #12740; [16/21 Nov. 1877], #12740.

20: 9 August 1878, GUW #07966.

In 1887, the artist sold impressions to Messrs Dowdeswell for £5.5.0 and in the following year to the London print dealer Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £6.6.0. 21 A few years later, at the sale of collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), an impression was bought by another dealer,Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851), for £7.10.0, which was comparatively large for an auction price. 22

Early collectors included James Guthrie Orchar (1825-1888) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590z01); Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590201); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590z02); Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) Graphic with a link to impression #K1590205; Margaret Selkirk Watson Parker (1867-1936) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590106) and - a little later - Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1590105, Graphic with a link to impression #K1590204).

21: 28 April 1887, GUW #13020; 27 July 1887, #08677; [11 February 1888], #13018.

22: Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lot 216).