|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||128 x 204 mm|
|Signed:||'Whistler' at lower right|
|Inscribed:||'1859' at lower right|
|Set/Publication:||'Thames Set', 1871|
|No. of States:||6|
|Catalogues:||K.40; M.39; T.39; W.37|
|Impressions taken from this plate (82)|
Several etchings from the 'Thames Set' were exhibited at Martinet's gallery in Paris in 1862 and praised by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). This etching may have been what inspired Baudelaire in his praise of Whistler's choice and treatment of subject matter:
18: 'ART AND ARTISTS, Exhibition at the Royal Academy', The Critic: Journal of British and Foreign Literature and Arts , 11 May 1861, p. 606; London RA 1861 (cat. no. 974).
[Translated:] 'A marvellous tangle of rigging, yardarms and rope; a chaos of fog, furnaces and gushing smoke; the profound and complicated poetry of a vast capital.' 19
After publication in 1871, an impression was shown by James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) in Liverpool and elsewhere and one by Whistler himself, in London, in 1874. 21 One went with a selection of Whistler's other etchings to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1879. Impressions were shown in print dealer's exhibitions by Craibe Angus in Glasgow, Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) and H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York. Impressions also starred in private shows for connoisseurs and collectors; for instance, Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent what was termed a 'Trial Proof' to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (). 22 One impression, lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), was shown in the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 23
Impressions were also included in the principal Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, including New York and Boston in 1904 and one lent by King Edward VII to the London exhibition in 1905. 24
SALES & COLLECTORS
The title causes confusion since Whistler's sales record a 'Limehouse', 'Limehouse Wharf' and 'From Limehouse'. For instance, 'Limehouse Wharf' was sold by Whistler to the Royal Library, Windsor, for £4.4.0 in 1877. 27
At auction a 'first state' of Limehouse fetched £3.5.0. at the Philippe Burty (1830-1890) sale at Sotheby's in 1876, but another - presumably a less interesting impression - brought only £.0.19.0 in the following year. 28 Ten years later, an early proof described as 'trial proof on Japanese paper, before any indications of sky' from the collection of John W. Wilson (dates unknown), fetched £6.6.0. 29 In the same year Whistler himself bought back an impression that had been owned by Edmond Gosselin (1849-1917), for 50 francs, and sold it on to J. Craibe Angus (fl. 1865-1901). 30
Some impressions, though undoubtedly dating from between 1859 and 1871, were returned to Whistler for signing later - Hermann Wunderlich (ca 1839- d.1892) of Wunderlich & Co., for instance, probably asked Whistler to sign one, before selling it to Francis Bullard (1862-1913) of Boston (). Whistler himself gave one to Henry Lee Higginson (1834-1919) also of Boston ().
25: V&A Register of Prints, p. 32.
26: Whistler to W. C. Carpenter, 3 August 1863, GUW #11109.
27: Whistler to Queen Victoria, [19/22 October 1877], GUW #12736; see also letters to F.A.S., 10 October 1877, GUW #12734; to Hogarth, 22-27 October , #12737; and C. A. Howell to Whistler, , #02181.
28: Sotheby's, 30 April 1876 lot 756 bought by 'Courtney'; 12 June 1877 (lot 101) bought by Hogarth.
29: Sotheby's, 22 April 1887 (lot 187).
30: GUW #13098.