Her Majesty's Fleet: Evening

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 310
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 144 x 223 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.326; M.320; W.243
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


Although not published officially, Her Majesty’s Fleet: Evening formed part of the 'Jubilee Set'.


It was first exhibited when Whistler was President, and had newly achieved Royal approval for the Society, at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1887 as 'The Naval Review. Her Majesty’s Fleet: Evening'. 12

Later, it was exhibited by H.Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and 1903. 13 An impression was also shown in the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260102). 14

Impressions appeared in the big Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, in Boston and at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, in Paris in 1905, and, lent by King Edward VII, at the London Memorial in 1905. 15

12: London RBA 1887 (cat. no. 507). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

13: New York 1898 (cat. no. 219); New York 1903b (cat. no. 192).

14: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 211a).

15: New York 1904a (cat. no. 256); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 243).


One impression of Her Majesty’s Fleet: Evening was included in the 'Naval Review Set' given to Queen Victoria (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260103); another (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260111) is in a similar set. This set was a duplicate prepared by Whistler, and it was eventually given by Walter Stanton Brewster (1872-1954) to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Whistler usually charged £10.10.0 for impressions of Her Majesty’s Fleet: Evening. Whistler's first sale to a print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), was on 20 August 1887; and another was probably sold to Messrs Dowdeswell. 16 In December, when Whistler was not very well, his son Charles Hanson offered another set of Naval Review etchings to Craibe Angus & Son in Glasgow. 17 Possibly this is where Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) bought an impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260110).

16: GUW #13089; [September 1887/1888?], #08679.

17: 16 December 1887, GUW #01959.

Others went to America: one was sold through H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1888, and another to Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. (this time not as part of the set). 18 Wunderlich's bought at least one more in 1897, as part of a large consignment, though they apparently were confused by the title, and the etching's similarity to other Naval Review subjects showing ships on the horizon, and nothing else. In one of Wunderlich's comprehensive accounts (it is not always entirely clear whether they have works on a sale or return basis, and when they have actually sold something), another impression of 'Naval Review The fleet Evening' appears at the price of £8.8.0 - but there is no explanation for the reduction in price, although they did receive a discount. 19 However, it was numbered '31' in the list on 24 September 1897, and that number appears on the verso of a good impression acquired by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260109).

18: 3 May 1888, GUW #07158; 2 July 1888, #13063.

19: [August 1897], #07289; 24 September 1897, #07287.

The impression owned by MacGeorge, and mentioned above, was notable for rich inking and delicate tone, and later owned by two important collectors, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) (acting apparently as a collector in his own right) and Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3260110). Finally it was given by Albert Henry Wiggin (1868-1951) to Boston Public Library.
By March 1903 David A. Kennedy (fl.1895-1915) was asking on behalf of Wunderlich's for good impressions of the Naval Review etchings, but this was shortly before Whistler's death and there is no further confirmation of sales. 20

20: 27 March 1903, GUW #07340.