The Menpes Children

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 300
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 68 x 101 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: M. Menpes, 'Whistler as I Knew Him', London, 1904
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 12
Catalogues: K.261; M.257; W.212
Impressions taken from this plate  (12)


Comparative image
It was published after Whistler's death as a frontispiece to the edition-de-luxe of Whistler as I knew him in a limited edition of 500 copies signed by Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938). 9


It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime. It was, however shown after his death, in the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, to which an impression was lent by Messrs Ernest Brown & Phillips. 10

10: New York 1904a (cat. no. 221); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 212).


Messrs Dowdeswell, after consulting the newly published catalogue by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), requested impressions of a number of etchings including this in February 1887. 11 However, it was not available, presumably because Whistler no longer had the copper plate.

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) stated that 'One of the two proofs printed in the artist's lifetime is in the Mansfield Collection' (Graphic with a link to impression #K2610108). 12 This impression was later acquired by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) who gave it to the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought one impression from F. Keppel & Co. in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2610102) and another - definitely a life-time impression - from Obach & Co. in 1909 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2610103), both of which were bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art.

The British Museum acquired an impression in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2610107). The University of Glasgow did not inherit an impression with the Whistler estate but bought one at auction in 1964, which was said to have come from the collection of Mortimer Menpes himself (Graphic with a link to impression #K2610104). Both are posthumous impressions.

11: Dowdeswell's to Whistler, 4 February 1887, GUW #00888.

12: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 257).