Fish Shop, Chelsea

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 267
Date: 1886
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 141 x 218 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 22
Catalogues: K.264; M.259; W.214
Impressions taken from this plate  (22)


A limited edition of Fish Shop, Chelsea was printed in 1886 for the benefit of the Society of British Artists. It was offered in a lottery to raise funds for the S.B.A, and the prospectus stated that:

19: [June/October 1886], GUW #01755.

Whistler helped to promote the ballot. For instance, he urged Walter Dowdeswell (1858-1929) to buy a ticket: 'The proof you know is a beauty and you can sell one of these days for more than that! - Also you have beside five chances of getting five damned things that you could sell immediately!' 20

20: [June/July 1886?], GUW #08633.

He also asked his sister-in-law Helen Whistler (1849-1917) to persuade Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890) to get a ticket 'he has you know five chances for pictures besides the proof of the new etching which is a beauty - ' 21

21: [16 August 1886], GUW #06709.


An impression may have been shown at the New York Etching Club show at the National Academy of Design in 1889 as 'Chelsea Fish Shop' but obviously this could have been one of the other fish shop images. 22 As 'Maunder's Fish Shop' it was probably exhibited by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898, and again in 1903. 23 Another impressions was shown by Obach & Co. in London in 1903.

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent an impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640101) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 and to the Whistler Memorial show in Boston in 1904. 24 One was included in the comprehensive Grolier Club exhibition in New York, also in 1904. Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) lent another to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640110). 25

22: NY-1889b;.

23: New York 1898 (cat. no. 186); New York 1903b (cat. no. 172); see REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.

24: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 184); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 163).

25: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 214).


Whistler sold a few impressions of Fish Shop, Chelsea, but there is the possibility of confusion between this and Little Maunder's [273] in, for instance, the sale of 'Fish Shop' for £6.6.0 to the London print dealer Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832). 26

26: [1 November 1886], GUW #13010.

However, the main distribution of this etching was in 1886, when Whistler offered impressions to subscribers to a ballot in support of the Society of British Artists, to which he had recently been elected a member. A document giving a 'List of Subscribers of £5- 5 entitled to an Etching by Mr Whistler, in addition to five chances in the Ballot' included:
C. D. Abel (1831-1906); Wilfred Williams Ball (1853-1917); W.E. Blake (fl. 1866-1886); Woodhouse Braine (fl. 1866-1886); Edith Bronson, Countess Rucellai (b. 1861); John Travis Clegg (fl. 1866-1886); Winchester Clowes (ca 1847- d.1901); G. Colquhune (fl. 1866-1886); Wilfrid M. Cundell (b. 1858); Charles L. Drouet (1836-1908); E. Elliot (fl. 1879-1911); George E. Fairchild (b. ca 1851); J. E. Grace; Miss Gribbill (fl. 1866-1889), 1 Albert Hall Mansions; James Hayllar (1829-1920); George Percy Jacomb Hood (1857-1929); Fred Ingle (fl. 1866-1886); G. I. Ingram (fl. 1866-1886); J. Garnock Jones (b. ca 1848); David Law (1831-1901); Alfred Leach (ca 1857 - 1892); Mrs Manuel (1853-1905); Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832); A. E. Miles (fl. 1866-1886); W. F. Mills (fl. 1866-1886); G. F. Munn (1852-1907); Noel L. Pocock (b. ca 1849); Edward Pullan (b. 1830); W.A. Rixon (fl. 1880-1936); N. Shepherd (fl. 1866-1886); Charles James Singleton, Jr (1841-1918); A. Smythe (fl. 1866-1886); Arthur L. Stride (ca 1837); Arthur Thomas (dates unknown); H. W. Thomson (fl. 1866-1886); Leslie Thomson (1851-1929); Miss Van de Weyer (b. 1851); W. A. Watts (fl. 1866-1889); R. W. Williams (fl. 1866-1886); Richard Worthington (b. ca 1834); S. Payne (fl. 1866-1886). 27

27: S.B.A. to Whistler, [20 October/November 1886], GUW #05276.

In addition sales are recorded, probably for this etching (but under slightly different titles) by Whistler from 1888 on. As 'Maunder's Fruit Fish Shop' it was bought from Whistler by the New York print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. on 3 May 1888 for £8.8.0; as 'Chelsea Fish Shop' it was sold to Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. for £10.10.0 on 2 July, and as 'Fish Shop - Chelsea' to Roland F. Knoedler (1856-1932) on 27 July 1888, also for £10.10.0. 28

28: GUW #07158; #13063; #13660.

At the same price - £10.10.0 - another was recorded in sales to H. Wunderlich & Co. on 24 March 1899, and possibly again in their sales records for 1900, although it is not entirely clear if this was a duplicate record. 29

29: GUW #07305; Report of Sales for 1900, 6 April 1900, GUW #07322.

Other early collectors included Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640110); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640202); John Henry Wrenn (1841-1911) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640109); Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640102); Ernest C. Innes (fl. 1918-1929) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640105); and Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2640106).