Booth at a Fair

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 257
Date: 1886
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 133 x 98 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 6
Catalogues: K.249; M.245; W.203
Impressions taken from this plate  (6)


Booth at a Fair was not published.


It was first exhibited, as far as is known, by two print dealers, Obach & Co. in London and H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1903. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought an impression from the Wunderlich show (Graphic with a link to impression #K2490102). 11

Following Whistler's death, an impression was shown at the Grolier Club, New York in 1904 and one was lent by John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908) to the London Memorial Exhibition in 1905. 12

11: New York 1903b (cat. no. 163). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

12: New York 1904a (cat. no. 211); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no 203).


Whistler sold three impressions to Messrs Dowdeswell, London, at £3.3.0 each between July and September 1887. 13

He then printed four more impressions, and sold one to the print dealer Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) at that same price in October. 14

In May of the following year he raised the price to £4.4.0 and sold one to H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York, to be forwarded to Ross Revillon Winans (1850-1912). 15 A couple of years later Whistler noted that he still had two impressions in stock. 16

At auction the price was surprisingly low: an impression from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst at Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lot 306) for only £0.18.0.

This compares to £10.10.0 recorded in an account sent by Wunderlich & Co. to Whistler in 1897; there seems to be no reason for this price increase so the price may be a mistake. 17 Apart from their purchases from Whistler, Wunderlich's bought an impression from the distinguished collection of Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924), and sold it to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2490102). Rather surprisingly, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) sold another impression to Freer in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2490103).

13: 27 July 1887, GUW #08677; 24 August -11 October 1887, #13655.

14: Note, [26 September 1887], GUW #12716; Whistler to McLean, 5 October 1887, #13014.

15: Wunderlich & Co. to Whistler, 3 May 1888, GUW #07158.

16: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

17: Account, September 1897, GUW #07287; 'Booth (Market)' in sales record, 24 March 1899, #07305.