Market Place, Ostend

Impression: National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Australia
Number: 350
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 92 x 134 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.350; M.439
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)
Market Place, Ostend was probably drawn in September 1887 when Whistler visited Ostend and Brussels, although stylistically it could have dated from earlier. The butterfly signature is consistent with a date of 1886 or 1887.
There is no record of a trip to Ostend in 1886 except for a newspaper, which stated that he had been working in Ostend during the summer of 1886:
'Ostend has been the scene of Mr. Whistler's summer tasks. He has etched and sketched the busy stir of life on the Digue and in the Kursaal. There are under a dozen etchings, besides the two nocturnes [Petite Bonne à la porte d'une auberge [y367]] in oil for the coming show in Suffolk-street. A limited number only of the plates will be issued from the Fulham studio press, for in this instance Mr. Whistler will be his own pressman.' 1

1: Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 29 October 1886.

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) wrote that Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936) 'thinks that this etching was done in September, 1896.' This was incorrect, and may have been derived from Mansfield's own suggestion that the image represented Calais. 2

2: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 439).

Etchings of Ostend include Fish Women, Ostend [349], Fishing Quay, Ostend [351], The Canal, Ostend [352] and The Beach, Ostend [353].