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Sketches of Heads

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 138
Date: 1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 155 x 230 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.104; M.101
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)
Sketches of Heads probably dates from 1875. It is dated from Whistler's known visits to Speke Hall. Judging by comparisons of technique, composition, and copper plates, it is most likely that it dates from January or February 1875.. The copper plate is the same size, maker and date as Speke Shore [139]. It is also similar in subject and style to Portrait sketches including F.R. Leyland and Whistler [122].
The drypoint is on a copper plate bought from Maire in Paris. Whistler was using Maire's plates from about 1867 to 1877. In 1875 he wrote from Speke Hall to Auguste Delâtre (1822-1907) that he had been working on plates bought from Hughes & Kimber 'en attendant les autres de chez Maire - ' (that is, while waiting for the others from Maire's). 1

1: 22 January [1875], GUW #11190.

This date is confirmed by another letter written from Speke, possibly on 5 February 1875, in which Whistler mentioned: 'the etchings and drypoints are getting on famously - I have quite got back my old delight with the work and I think I shall have some pretty things to show you soon'. 2

2: Whistler to W. C. Alexander, GUW #07565.