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Thames Police

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 53
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 153 x 229 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower right
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 81
Catalogues: K.44; M.43; T.43; W.42
Impressions taken from this plate  (81)


This is mostly etched, with light drypoint additions, mainly in the sky.


Over eighty impressions have been located. It is undoubtedly hard to distinguish the published editions, partly because the plate gave uniformly good impressions.
About 1862, Whistler recorded either the number of impressions printed, or more likely the number of impressions of some etchings in stock: 'Limehouse 10. / Tunnel pier 2. / Black Lion 8. / Graveur - 2 /Thames Police. 20 / Tyzack 5.' 14

14: [May 1862/1864?], GUW #12745, p. 38.

The majority of impressions are in black ink, though an impression of the first state acquired by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) is in dark brown ink, on browned ivory laid paper, giving it a much warmer appearance (). Other papers include 'modern' (post-1800) laid paper with 'HODELIST' or 'HUDELIST' watermark (, ); wove paper (, ); and Japanese (, , , ).
Many of the impressions printed for the Ellis & Green edition of 1871 were in black ink on laid paper with the DEDB (De Erven de Blauw) and beehive watermark (, , ), including fine impressions acquired by Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900) ( and ). Many other impressions are on laid paper (, , ) including a sheet watermarked 'KE' () and 'J. Bouchet' (); and paper removed from a book with blue edges (). Other papers include ivory (), cream () and buff () wove paper; buff () and ivory (, ) chine collé; and Asian papers including cream laid Japan () and soft buff paper ().