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Amsterdam, from the Tolhuis

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 99
Date: 1863
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 134 x 211 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right (1-final); butterfly at lower right (7-final)
Inscribed: '1863. / à Amsterdam - Tolhuis. - -' at lower right
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 8
Known impressions: 26
Catalogues: K.91; M.91; T.82; W.82
Impressions taken from this plate  (26)


boat, city, coast, panorama, port, sailing ship, sailors, sea, shipping.


There are a surprising number of minor variations on the title, as follows:

' Amsterdam - Tolhuis' (1863, Whistler). 3
'Tolhuis' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 4
'Amsterdam - from the Tolhuis' (1875, Whistler). 5
'Amsterdam' (1877, Whistler). 6
'Amsterdam, Etched from the Tolhuis' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 7
'Amsterdam from the Tolhuis' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 8
'Amsterdam' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 9
'Amsterdam, from the Tolhuis' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 10

The title 'Amsterdam from the Tolhuis' rather than the inscription on the plate (' Amsterdam - Tolhuis'), is the preferred title.

3: Etched on the copper plate.

4: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 82).

5: Whistler to W. C. Alexander, [March/April 1875], GUW #07573.

6: To M. B. Huish, 10 October 1877, GUW #12734.

7: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 82).

8: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

9: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 91).

10: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 91).


A view of the port of Amsterdam, seen across a wide stretch of water. There are sailing ships along the distant quayside, in front of buildings and a church tower, to left, diminishing to a low coastline in the distance to right, under a stormy sky. In the centre of the plate are two sailing barges; and further away, to right of these, a boat with sails half raised, billowing in the wind. To right again, and even further away, is a small barge with figures in the stern. In front of this shipping, at right, is a sailing barge or coaster, with seamen standing in it, but with no sails up.


The view represents the city of Amsterdam seen from the Customs House (Tolhuis). Wedmore described it as follows:
'In front, a space of water with boats, which are the coasting craft of the Zuyder Zee. To the left, in the background, the houses and shipping of Amsterdam, which dwindle away towards the right to a thin line of flat coast under a wildish sky.' 11


Etching: c_K091_01
Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910),
Amstelodamum No.1, 1863, etching,
British Museum 1933,0408.160.
Seymour Haden also etched a panorama of Amsterdam in 1863, inscribed 'AMSTELODAMUM', and etched with the conspicuous title, 'HIC TERMINUS HAERET'; it was printed - rather ambitiously - in two colours. 12

12: Schneiderman 41a.VI; Harrington 43.II. On (accessed 2011).