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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)


Five states are known before cancellation.

State 1

Etching: K0440101
Signed and dated 'Whistler. 1859.' at lower right.
The composition is complete.
The cloud between the chimneys in the centre does not touch the roofs.

State 2

Etching: K0440204
Drypoint lines are added to the clouds at the top and right, and curved lines fill the space just above the roofs; a few horizontal lines are added behind the distant shipping.
In many impressions, including that reproduced above, there is a slanting scratch above the roof of Wapping Wharf at upper right.

State 3

Etching: K0440303
More long drypoint lines are added to the clouds at the top, particularly at upper right, and curved lines above the roof with dormer-windows.

State 4

Etching: K0440312
The sky is reworked with heavier drypoint shading, the clouds are more clearly delineated, and several curved drypoint lines, nearly parallel, are added above the roofs in the centre.

State 5

Etching: K0440324
More drypoint shading is added on the clouds and in the sky behind the ships; the outlines of the clouds are altered; the drypoint above and between the three chimneys at left has been rubbed down.
In this state (and in the variations described below), published in the 'Thames Set'.
Impressions vary considerably according to inking and condition of the plate; see below for major variations.

State 5 (clipped)

Etching: K0440327
The copper plate corners were clipped off; thus the four platemark corners no longer have sharp right angles.
The plate was steeled and in some impressions there is corrosion around the edges, as in the impression reproduced above.

State 5 (restored)

Etching: K0440326
The steel facing is removed, so the corrosion has gone, but the drypoint is rather faint.

State 5 (cancelled)

Etching: K0440402
Cancelled with four vertical lines plus diagonal lines from corner to corner.