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The Letter (Maud, seated)

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 116
Date: 1873
Medium: drypoint
Size: 140 x 101 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 8
Catalogues: K.115; M.114; W.100
Impressions taken from this plate  (8)


It is a drypoint, drawn with repeated lines and shaded with areas of lighter vertical, horizontal and occasionally diagonal shading. The figure was changed considerably in the third and fourth states, and the plate shows signs of scratching and corrosion that suggest it was being re-worked after a long delay.


Only five impressions of this drypoint have been located. Whistler wrote the date '-73-' and the number '3' on one impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150101), which could have meant it was the third impression printed - it is one of two known impressions of the first state. Both these impressions were printed in black ink, with some plate tone and soft burr, on cream laid paper with partial 'Pro Patria' watermarks (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150101, Graphic with a link to impression #K1150102). A later impression - the third state - was on cream 'modern' (post-1800) laid paper, with a fragment of what is probably a 'De Erven De Blauw' watermark (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150203), and the final state is on off-white laid paper with an Arms of Amsterdam watermark (Graphic with a link to impression #K1150302).