Free Trade Wharf

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 171
Date: 1877
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 99 x 186 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left (3-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: Fine Art Society, 1879?
No. of States: 8
Known impressions: 33
Catalogues: K.163; M.160; W.134
Impressions taken from this plate  (33)


It was published by the Fine Art Society, London, in 1879 in an edition of 100 impressions, printed by Frederick Goulding (1842-1909). It is possible this edition was not completed.


A 'trial proof' (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630201) and 'finished state' (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630301) lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) were exhibited in the Union League Club in New York in 1881. 12

Thereafter impressions were exhibited by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 (bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919)) and 1903. 13 Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) planned to include it in the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 but for some reason it was dropped. 14 Impression were lent by both Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630502) and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (either Graphic with a link to impression #K1630504 or Graphic with a link to impression #K1630505). 15

Finally impressions were shown in the Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, including the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and by the Copley Society in Boston in the same year. An impression from the Royal Collection was lent to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630401). 16

12: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 143, 144). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

13: New York 1898 (cat. no. 113); New York 1903b (cat. no. 100).

14: Mansfield to Whistler, 10 January 1893, #04000; Chicago 1893.

15: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 118, 118a).

16: New York 1904a (cat. no. 136); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 100); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 134).


Whistler sold impressions to Marcus Bourne Huish (1843-1904) of the Fine Art Society, Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890), and J. Hogarth & Sons in October 1877 for £4.4.0 each. 17 At least another two went to Howell for £2.2.0 on 11 November 1877: why the price was so abruptly reduced is not clear. 18

Although most impressions were presumably sold by the Fine Art Society after publication in 1879, Whistler sold an impression on 17 May 1886 to a rival print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £8.8.0. 19 Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought one of the published impressions from F. Keppel & Co. on 10 November 1888 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630504) and another, rather richer, more heavily inked impression, ten years later (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630505) originally from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), from H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630505).

17: 10 October 1877, GUW #12734; 12 October-5 November [1877], #12735; 22-27 October [1877], #12737.

18: 9-11 November [1877], GUW #12738.

19: GUW #13011.

At auction in 1890 an impression was bought by 'Fawcett' for £0.16.0. At the rather more important sale of the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) in 1892 a 'first state' was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £4.15.0. 20

20: Sotheby's, 25 February 1890 (lot 116); 3 March 1892 (lot 217).

Early collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630301); George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630507); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), who may have bought it from H. Wunderlich & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630502, stock no. A 31262) and Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630503, also handled at some time by Wunderlich's); Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630509); Margaret Selkirk Watson Parker (1867-1936), who bought it from Colnaghi's (stock no. c.20658) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1620302) ; and Albert Henry Wiggin (1868-1951) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630z04). These etchings all went to help form some of the greatest print collections in America. Avery's etching went to New York Public Library; Lucas's to the Baltimore Museum of Art; Lathrop and Cunningham's to the Art Institute of Chicago; Dick's to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Parker's to the University of Michigan Museum of Art; and Wiggin's to Boston Public Library. Whistler himself left one to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow (Graphic with a link to impression #K1630506).