Old Westminster Bridge
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||76 x 204 mm|
|Signed:||'Whistler' at lower left|
|Inscribed:||'1859' at lower left|
|Set/Publication:||'Thames Set', 1871|
|No. of States:||4|
|Catalogues:||K.39; M.38; T.36; W.36|
|Impressions taken from this plate (75)|
Impressions were shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1879 and by private clubs for connoisseurs and collectors such as the Union League Club in New York to which one was lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) in 1881 (). 18 Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent his impression to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 19 An impression bought by the Kupferstich-Kabinett, Dresden, was included in an exhibition of newly acquired works in 1900 (). 20
Other impressions were exhibited by print dealers including Craibe Angus in Glasgow in 1879; Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of Keppel & Co., New York, in 1902; H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and (twice) in 1903; and Obach & Co. in London in 1903. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought two from Wunderlich's in 1898 (, ). 21
After Whistler's death impressions were shown at the Memorial Exhibitions, including the Grolier Club in New York in 1904 and one lent by Francis Bullard (1862-1913) to the Copley Society show in Boston in 1904, which were followed by the Memorial show in Paris in 1905, and - lent from the Royal Collection - one shown in London in 1905. 22
SALES & COLLECTORS
Haden kept several impressions of the first state, which were sold by Wunderlich's of New York to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), one in 1891 () and two, with the advice of Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) in 1898 (, ). Haden's impressions were fine and interesting ones, but they were not signed or inscribed by Whistler; instead, Haden put his initials on them.
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) bought one impression, possibly directly from Whistler (), as did William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916) (), and in both cases Whistler annotated the impressions, thus accentuating their unique quality and enhancing their value.
23: V&A Register of Prints, p. 32.
24: Whistler to W. H. Carpenter, 3 August 1863, GUW #11109.
Some early proofs undoubtedly fetched better prices. One, listed as 'first state, with four very small horizontal lines just above the roof of the Houses of Parliament, very rare' from the late John W. Wilson (dates unknown) collection, sold in 1887 for £6.6.0 to another print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832). 26
In Scotland William Craibe Angus (1830-1899) asked Whistler to select works for Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907), and he agreed:
25: Sotheby's, 23 June 1873 (lot 131), and 3 March 1892 (lot 85); also Whistler to S. P. Avery, , GUW #10628.
26: Sotheby's, 22 April 1887 (lot 186).
In 1897 Boston Museum of Fine Arts acquired a slightly damaged second state (); Boston Public Library managed to obtain a better impression (). An impression of the first state was acquired by the Kupferstichkabinett, Dresden, from V. Straeter for 70 DM in 1900 () and Colnaghi's of London sold a second state to the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, in 1902, for £5.5.0 ().
28: Whistler to Craibe Angus, 9 May 1887, and [8 August 1887], GUW #13098, #13045; and reply, 26 August 1887, #00175; Whistler to Gosselin, [28 December 1888], #13076.