Return to Tilbury

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 311
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 133 x 97 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.327; M.321; W.244
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)


Although not published officially, Return to Tilbury formed part of the 'Jubilee Set'. This was usually listed as the eleventh out of the twelve etchings in the set. '(11)' is written on the verso of an impression acquired by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270108).


It was exhibited by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and 1903, and by Obach & Co. in London in 1903. 9 Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270102) and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270103) both lent impressions to an exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900. 10

Impressions were also shown at the big Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, in Boston by the Copley Society in the same year, and, lent by King Edward VII, at the London Memorial in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270106) . 11

9: New York 1898 (cat. no. 225); New York 1903b (cat. no. 193); London Obach 1903 (cat. no. 204).

10: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 320 and 212).

11: New York 1904a (cat. no. 257); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 177); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 244).


On 20 August 1887 Whistler sold an impression to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £6.6.0. Whistler's son, Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935) offered another to William Craibe Angus (1830-1899) in Glasgow in December 1887. 12

12: GUW #13089; 16 December 1887, #01959.

Sales are recorded to H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York in May 1888, but the accounts not entirely clear, and imply that it was returned. It was numbered '59' in the list of sales, and that number appears on the verso of an impression bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) from Wunderlich's in 1888 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270103). Freer's receipts are dated 1 and 27 May 1889 - possibly he returned one impression and bought another. 13

13: 3 May 1888, GUW #07158; 26 June 1889, #07179.

An impression was also recorded in Wunderlich's stock in August 1897 and 1901. 14 The last sale recorded was to the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) on 8 June 1903, all at the same price. 15 An early impression was acquired by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270001) and other impressions by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270108) and Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270109).

Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) inherited thirteen impressions from the artist and bequeathed them to the University of Glasgow, including two marked 'o' (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270001, Graphic with a link to impression #K3270105) which may have been a sign of quality.

14: GUW #07289 and #07330.

15: GUW #13042.

Another impression, marked on the verso in pencil with a crown (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270206), came from the album originally presented to Queen Victoria, which was sold by King Edward VII through Agnew's in 1906, and bought from Obach & Co. by Freer, who sold it back to Miss Philip. She gave it to the University of Glasgow in 1935. One impression was presented in an album similar to that given to Queen Victoria and was given by Walter Stanton Brewster (1872-1954) to the Art Institute of Chicago (Graphic with a link to impression #K3270106).