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Savoy Scaffolding

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 317
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 178 x 82 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 11
Catalogues: K.267; M.263; W.217
Impressions taken from this plate  (11)
Savoy Scaffolding dates from 1887. The butterfly signature is consistent with this date. It was first recorded as sold on 29 August 1887. 1

Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901) bought the site on which the Savoy Hotel was to be built, between the Savoy Theatre and the Embankment, in January 1884 but problems with the Metropolitan Board of Works, architects, and others caused delays in the construction. 2 The hotel opened on 6 August 1889 after 5 years of construction.

1: Whistler to T. McLean, GUW #13089.

2: 'The Board of Works Enquiry', The Times (London), 13 June 1888, p. 13.

The Pennells commented that Whistler made frequent visits to Helen Lenoir (1852-1913) at the Savoy Theatre:
'She was just about to produce The Mikado, and, sure that he would find her in her office at the Savoy Theatre, he would appear there every evening to talk things over ... Whistler delighted in her office, a tiny room lit by one lamp on her desk, with strange effects of light and shadow, but the only record that remains in his work of his many visits is in the two etchings, Savoy Scaffolding and Miss Lenoir'. 3

3: Pennell 1908, vol. 2, p. 37.

The Pennells thought Whistler went to discuss the 'Ten O'Clock' Lecture, which was in 1885, however the etching was done two years later.