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Little Arthur

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 8
Date: 1857/1858
Medium: etching
Size: 81 x 54 (K5) 57 x 48 mm
Signed: 'J.W.' at lower left (1-3); 'Whistler' at lower right (2-3); removed (4); 'Whistler' at lower left (4).
Inscribed: 'Imp. Delatre. Rue. St. Jacques. 171.' at lower left (3)
Set/Publication: 'French Set', 1858
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 61
Catalogues: K.9; M.7; T.8; W.13
Impressions taken from this plate  (61)


An elaborate combination of lines creates a densely worked image: the face, carefully drawn in detail, is shadowed with fine, slightly curving cross-hatching. The dress and shadows to right consist of three- and four-way crosshatching, with additional curving lines suggesting the roundness of the figure. Long strokes outline and define the legs, with curving cross-hatching added for shadows. Short curvy and zig-zag lines and dashes suggest a furry rug. The hair is drawn with wavy lines. Cross-hatched lines were partly rubbed out, producing a textured background at upper left.


There are only two known impressions of the first (, ) and two of the second state (, ). At least ten impressions of the third state exist (including , , ). Most known impressions are from the final state, with over 30 impressions recorded (including , , ).
Many impressions of both the third and final state were printed in black or very dark brown ink with very little tone on thin Asian paper laid down on wove paper (chine appliqué) ( ). The Asian paper varied in colour, from off-white or grey (, ), to tan or buff (, ). A few impressions, however, were printed on western laid paper (, ) including 'antique' (pre-1800) cream laid (), such as one on similar paper with an indistinct countermark (), and another on ivory laid with a partial Strasbourg Lily watermark ().