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Nursemaid and Child

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 42
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 99 x 134 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 35
Catalogues: K.37; M.36; T.21; W.34
Impressions taken from this plate  (35)


Nursemaid and Child was not published.


It was first exhibited with the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) in 1874, in a travelling exhibition in Liverpool and elsewhere. 7 Later it was shown in a succession of exhibitions in the USA, including the Union League Club in New York, where both a 'Trial proof; very rare' and 'The finished state' were shown in 1881, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) ( and ). 8

7: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 514).

8: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 51, 52); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

Again, at H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898, and at Obach & Co. in London in 1903, the two different states were shown. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) lent his impression of the first state, bought at Wunderlich's in 1898, to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 9

9: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 33).

After Whistler's death, two states were again on show at the comprehensive Grolier Club show in New York in 1904. Finally, an impression owned by King Edward VII was lent to the London Memorial show in 1905. 10

10: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 34).


'Mr Thomas', either Edmund Thomas (1842-1883) or Percy Thomas (1846-1922) - sold two to the British Museum in 1872 (, ). Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) owned two impressions by 1881, which went to the New York Public Library (, ). The Fine Art Society, London, sold one to the New York print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1889 and it went to Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935), and eventually to Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) and the National Gallery of Art ().
At the sale of the collection of John W. Wilson (dates unknown) in 1887 a 'first state, rare' and a 'second state, the face altered' were bought by the print dealers Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) and Gustave Lauser (b. ca 1841) for 3.3.0 and 1.2.0 respectively. At Sotheby's in 1892, an impression from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was bought for only 0.11.0 by the Fine Art Society, while in another sale, an impression went for 0.15.0 to Henry Nazeby Harrington (1862-1937). 11

11: Sotheby's, 22 April 1887 (lots 184-5); 3 March 1892 (lot 83); 29 March 1892 (lot 420).

First states brought a little more- one sold at Christie's in 1892 from the collection of William Richard Drake (1817-1890), was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst for 1.4.0. 12

12: Christie’s, 8-9 March 1892 (lot 292).

Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) owned two impressions that were sold through H. Wunderlich & Co. to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (, ). From distinguished private collectors, impressions went to the great public collection: from Hermann Heinrich Meier (1845-1905) and his wife () to the Kunsthalle Bremen; from Charles Deering (1852-1927), to the Art Institute of Chicago (); from George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) to Baltimore Museum of Art (); and from Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art ().