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Speke Shore

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 139
Date: 1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 155 x 230 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 21
Catalogues: K.144; M.142; W.119
Impressions taken from this plate  (21)
Speke Shore 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 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 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.

Lochnan also suggested this date: 'It was probably in January, 1875, on one of his last visits to Speke, that Whistler made five plates of the house and its vicinity: Speke Hall, No. 2, Shipbuilder's YardThe Little Forge, Speke Shore and The Dam Wood'. 3

3: Lochnan 1984, p. 165.