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Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 61
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 293 x 202 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right (3); replaced with new 'Whistler.' at lower right (4-final)
Inscribed: '1859 -' at lower right (3); replaced with new '1859.' at lower right (4-final)
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 14
Known impressions: 38
Catalogues: K.58; M.58; T.56; W.54
Impressions taken from this plate  (38)


Fourteen states are known before cancellation and restoration of the copper plate.

State 1

Etching: K0580102
There is no signature or inscription.
The composition is just begun and shows the etched outlines of a woman, with her head and hat more clearly defined, and a city view through a window frame at left; the lines defining the outlines of the skirt may be drypoint; there are spots of foul biting, especially at upper right.
The impression illustrated has a red collector's mark on the verso, which shows through on the recto at the lower left corner.

State 2

Etching: K0580104
There are many drypoint additions to the woman's hat and clothing; light curving horizontal drypoint lines are added to the wall at right.
The impression illustrated has graphite pencil work on the figure's left hand.

State 3

Etching: K0580201
Signed and dated 'Whistler. 1859.' at lower right.
Shading is added to the woman's hat, hair and clothing, and the cloak extends further to the right; the woman's right hand, which had formerly been shown in a horizontal position, is redrawn on a diagonal; the lower edge of the window frame is indicated, with shading below it; a picture frame, the edge of a table or ledge and more shading are added to the background at right.

State 4

Etching: K0580302
The original signature is covered by shading on the woman's skirt, and the plate is re-signed 'Whistler. 1859.' further down at lower right.
Considerable shading is added to the woman's hair and clothing, which are now dark; horizontal divisions and vertical shading are added under the window; diagonal lines to the left of the woman's head imply a curtain; more vertical shading is added to the wall to the right of the figure; the table or ledge is further defined, with objects on top of it - possible a small box and piece of cloth; a patch of vertical lines is added to the picture to the right of the figure's head; horizontal lines are added in the foreground, below the woman's skirt.

State 5

Etching: K0580303
Patches of shading are added to the woman's skirt, particularly at the left and right sides; more verticals are added to the shading below and just to the right of the table or ledge; two additional patches of vertical shading are added to the picture.

State 6

Etching: K0580304
Very fine horizontal and diagonal lines are added to the centre of the woman's skirt.
The impression illustrated has stray spots of printer's ink at the upper right and lower left corners that resemble foul biting, and the lines of the date at lower right are very lightly inked, making it difficult to read the numbers.

State 7

Etching: K0580301
Fine horizontal lines are added to the wall, below the picture frame, and there are new or strengthened verticals in that area.

State 8

Etching: K0580401
Stray lines are removed below the hem of the skirt, and its outline is now well defined; fine horizontal lines are added below the skirt and over the signature, and a carpet pattern is faintly delineated in the foreground at left and centre; a wrought-iron window guard is added at left, between the window sill and distant city view, and fine horizontal lines are added to the sky; horizontal lines, indicating ruffles, are added to the edge of the curtain, to the left of the figure's neck and chin; there are fine vertical lines on the picture, at lower right, and the frame now has decoration at that corner; the table or ledge is replaced by a lower rectangular one, and the objects on top of it are changed, and now include a black mask, a white feather fan, an open box containing paper, an envelope, and possibly, behind these, ink-pots.

State 9

Etching: K0580502
The pattern of the carpet is more clearly drawn and is now shaded; the horizontal bar at the top of the window guard is thickened, and some lines on the distant city view are strengthened; the outline of the left side of the skirt is now well defined, and the panelling on the wall next to it is redefined and completely shaded with close vertical lines; the moulding of the picture frame is changed, and there is considerable new shading on the picture within it; the corner of the wall to the right of the frame is more clearly defined, and there are several vertical lines added to the wall above the table; the left side of the table and the upper left corner of the open box are more precisely outlined, but the right side of the box and shading on the wall above it are partly removed.
Parts of the woman's skirt appear greyish on the impression illustrated because of a combination of worn drypoint lines, light inking and disturbed paper fibres.

State 10

Etching: K0580602
More fine horizontal lines are added to the carpet, and the pattern on the right is more clearly delineated; ruffles on the curtain's edge now extend to the height of the woman's eyes; very fine horizontals are added to the picture and to the wall below it; patches of vertical lines are added to the wall at right, and part of a mirror frame is outlined to the right of the open box; the box is completely drawn and shaded, and there is more fine shading on the table and the wall beneath it; some new shading is added to the woman's costume, most notably on the front of the skirt.

State 11

Etching: K0580701
Fine diagonal shading is added below the picture frame, and horizontal shading extends from the woman's cape (a 'domino') to and above the open box; fine vertical shading now covers most of the wall at right, as well as the mirror and its frame; horizontal shading is added to the front edge of the window sill and to the upper right corner of the panelling.

State 12

Etching: K0580802
A band and a separate patch of fine vertical lines are added to the top of the wall at right; more fine horizontal lines strengthen the shading on the front of the window sill and the corner of the panelling below.

State 13

Etching: K0580902
The panelling below the window is now completely shaded with fine horizontal lines

State 14

Etching: K0581104
A number of vertical and slightly diagonal lines are added below the window; two slightly curving diagonal lines appear on the carpet in front of the woman's skirt, and there is more horizontal shading on the carpet in the near foreground; horizontal shading is added to the wall below the table; the right side of the woman's hair and some facial features are scraped out, along with details of the left hand and sleeve and some of the shading around them.
No impression has been located showing just the new lines and shading and the removal of some lines of the face and hand, without the cancellation marks, so the example illustrated above also shows the cancellation described below. However, this impression does have relatively strong, fresh drypoint lines on the figures's costume--along with strong cancellation lines--so it may be a proof printed before publication in the Fine Art Society's set of cancelled plates.
Kennedy described these changes as his tenth state but illustrated an impression taken from the cancelled plate. 20

20: See Kennedy 1910[more], cat. no. 58 state 10.

State 14 (cancelled)

Etching: K0581103
The plate is cancelled with two large 'X's that cross the woman's face, shoulders and both hands.
Published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.
One impression located has been heavily worked in dark grey wash, on the cloak, hat, hair, face, walls, floor, table and mask by an unknown hand (see ).

State 14 (after cancellation)

Etching: K0581002
The cancellation lines are skillfully removed, and the area burnished, but the scraped out areas on the woman's head and left hand remain.
The drypoint 'X's used to cancel the plate were so fine and light that it was easy for someone to remove most of the lines that crossed the woman's face, hands and the wall behind her, in effect restoring the plate to its condition before cancellation. The existing copper plate () shows clear evidence that the drypoint cancellation lines were scraped out and those areas subsequently burnished.
Two impressions from the restored plate have deceptive inking plus pen and ink additions used to create the illusion that they are proofs printed prior to cancellation. One, for instance, relies on heavy inking and manipulation of plate tone alone ().
Another, reproduced below, has grey-black brush and ink additions to the hair at left, the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as the shading below the right hand and around the left hand.
Etching: K0581003