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The Lime-Burner

Impression: Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
Number: 55
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 255 x 179 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' lower right and 'Whistler.' lower left (1); lower left signature faded (2)
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower right
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 103
Catalogues: K.46; M.45; T.38; W.44
Impressions taken from this plate  (103)


A variety of etched lines, shading and cross-hatching is here combined with foul-biting and perhaps open bite and other experimental techniques to produce complex textural effects. A grainy texture - like cloth - is apparent, as are the more haphazard splotches of foul-biting.


Over a hundred impressions have been located. An immensely successful and popular etching, this was printed and sold in unusual quantities.
One impression was sold in the first state in 1861 (), and another from the second state was sold by Ellis & Green in 1871 (). Early impressions are usually printed in black ink, on a variety of western papers. They include wove papers: cream paper from a book, marked 'Fine proof - ' by Whistler (); ivory () and buff wove paper (). Several are on ivory laid papers (), both heavy-weight () and medium-weight (); and soiled sheets of 'antique' (pre-1800) laid (, ). Several laid papers are watermarked i.e. 'HUDELIST' (, ), 'HALLINES' (, ) and 'HD' (). Asian papers - a comparatively small proportion - include cream japanese (); off-white () and cream 'laid' Japan ().
As printed in the second state and for the published edition, a slightly different pattern emerges, with a high proportion of ivory 'modern' laid paper with the 'DE ERVEN DE BLAUW' (, , , , ), 'D & C BLAUW' () and the beehive DEDB watermark (, , ). Other watermarks on laid papers include 'Pro Patria' (), Strasbourg Lily (, ), Bouchet (), a lion rampant on a shield (), and a faint watermark of a helmet and shield (). A sheet of 'antique' laid paper with blue edges was obviously taken from a ledger ().
A higher proportion of the second state are printed on Asian papers, including cream Japanese (, , ); cream Asian laid (); cream Japanese tissue (); crackly, glossy cream Japan (); ivory wove ('Imperial Japan') (); ivory 'Japan pelure' () and a heavy weight glowing ivory Japanese paper ().