Little Smithfield

Impression: Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Number: 154
Date: 1875
Medium: etching
Size: 136 x 99 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.160; M.157; W.78
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


It was not published.


Little Smithfield was first exhibited in 1881 at the Union League Club in New York, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600101). 10 Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent an impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600102 or Graphic with a link to impression #K1600z01) described as 'A most rare dry point' to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900. 11

It also appeared in print dealer's exhibitions, at H. Wunderlich & Co. (1903) and F. Keppel & Co. (1903) in New York and Obach & Co. in London (1903). 12

After Whistler's death, an impression was included in the comprehensive Grolier Club exhibition in New York in 1904. Finally an impression was lent by King Edward VII to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, shortly before it was sold (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600103). 13

10: New York 1881 (cat. no. 107).

11: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 73).


13: New York 1904a (cat. no. 81); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 78).


Whistler was probably printing the copper plate with the help of Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877, in a desperate attempt to make money. Howell was buying the impressions of 'Smithfield' or 'Smithfield No. 1' at £1.1.0 or £2.2.0 and selling them on when he could; for instance he bought two on 16 November 1877, sold one to the print dealer Jane Noseda (b. 1813 or 1814) and returned the other. 14

Whistler also sent several 'beautiful proofs' including 'Smithfield' at £2.2.0 to Alfred Chapman (1839-1917) on 9 August 1878. 15 It is not known if he kept them.

14: Howell to W, [6-25 November 1877], GUW #02178; Whistler to Howell, 14-16 November [1877], #13668, [16/21 November 1877, #12740; 24 November-8 December [1877] #12742.

15: GUW #07966.

Early collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600101), Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600105), and the Royal Library, Windsor (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600103). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) owned two impressions, one of which he sold to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1901 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600102) and another (Graphic with a link to impression #K1600z01) which was eventually sold through A. A. Hahlo & Co., New York, to Harris G. Whittemore (d. ca 1937) in 1919.