The Church - Brussels (Adoration)

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 340
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 213 x 124 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 9
Catalogues: K.356; M.352; W.249
Impressions taken from this plate  (9)


The Church – Brussels (Adoration) was not published officially, but is considered part of a 'Brussels Set'.


The first recorded exhibition was by the New York print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898, under the descriptive title 'Church Interior, Brussels'. 8 An impression was lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560202). 9 Both Wunderlich's, in New York, and Obach & Co., in London, included impressions in exhibitions in 1903. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought one from the Wunderlich's 1903 show (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560104). 10

Impressions of The Church – Brussels (Adoration) were also shown at the Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, in New York (at the Grolier Club) in 1904 and in London in 1905, the latter lent from the Royal Collection (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560102). 11

8: New York 1898 (cat. no. 252).

9: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 215).

10: New York 1903b (cat. no. 198); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

11: New York 1904a (cat. no. 269); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 249).


Whistler sold impressions to the London print dealers at £8.8.0 a time. On 21 December 1887 and 11 February 1888 he sold impressions to Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832); on 1 and 10 February to Messrs Dowdeswell. 12 One of these probably went to John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560105), and another to Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560104). The latter was sold at auction after Hutchinson's death for the much smaller sum of £1.6.0 to Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915). 13 It was bought by Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924), and then through H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1903. Another impression, from the Royal Collection, was sold in 1906 through Agnew's and Wunderlich's, and bought by Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560102).

On 27 July 1888 Whistler sold an impression at £8.8.0 less 20 per cent discount to Knoedler & Co.; it was No. 16 in the list of 24 impressions sold, and this identification number was written on the etching, which was sold to Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560106). 14 Mansfield also owned a later state, which was a working proof of the final state worked over in pen and ink by the artist (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560302). It was probably acquired from Knoedler's or Wunderlich's, but does not now bear any stock numbers. Whistler gave Wunderlich's a discount on the sale of an impression in 1900, priced at £6.6.0. 15

12: GUW #13017, #13018, #13026, #13027, #13660.

13: Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lot 330).

14: GUW #13660.

15: Wunderlich's to Whistler, 6 April 1900, GUW #07322.

At his death in 1903 there were still two impressions in Whistler's studio, which were bequeathed to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958). One of these she sold to Freer in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560103) and the other she gave to the University of Glasgow (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560002).
Sir John Day's etching ended up in the collection of Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) and was given to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Freer's was bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art, also in Washington, and Buckingham's went to the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute also acquired an impression from the collection of Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), who owned it by 1900, although where he bought it is not known (Graphic with a link to impression #K3560202).