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Amsterdam, from the Tolhuis

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 99
Date: 1863
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 134 x 211 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right (1-final); butterfly at lower right (7-final)
Inscribed: '1863. / à Amsterdam - Tolhuis. - -' at lower right
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 8
Known impressions: 26
Catalogues: K.91; M.91; T.82; W.82
Impressions taken from this plate  (26)


The first state is pure etching; drypoint was used to add tiny details and then to redraw the sky in later states.


An impression of the first state is printed in black ink on Japanese paper (). Wedmore wrote that 'The rare First State - which, in the only exquisite impressions, is on thin Japan paper - is without the monogram.' 14 However, another is on 'antique' (pre-1800) laid paper taken from a book ().

Second states are on 'antique' laid () - one being annotated '1st state -' and '1' by Whistler (). A few third states are on Japanese paper (, ), but most are on western papers including ivory laid paper taken from a book (); and various papers with watermarks (i.e. ) including 'DE ERVEN DE BLAUW' () and 'PRO PATRIA', this being inscribed '2d (Oct 12)' (). Fourth states are on ivory laid paper, one printed in dark brown ink on a sheet taken from an old ledger ().

14: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 82).

The etching was reworked in the late 1870s and signed in the seventh state with a butterfly on the plate. On 9 July 1879 Whistler mentioned that he had printed two impressions specially for the Fine Art Society. He recorded printing another impression on 14 August 1879 and two on the following day. He kept a record of printing new impressions - three on 8 February and six in July 1887. 15

15: Whistler to M. B. Huish, 9 July 1879, GUW #01101; Whistler, notes, 14 and 15 August 1879, and [26 September 1887], #13019, #12716.

Judging from these records, there were at least 15 impressions of the seventh state. A couple are in black ink () but most in dark brown ().

Finally the original date of '1863' was removed and a few further impressions were printed, one of which, printed in dark brown ink on cream laid paper, remained in Whistler's studio ().
Impressions were usually printed with a margin, and some were signed at a later date in the margin with a butterfly - one such was signed about 1880/1881 () and another, a sixth state, was trimmed and signed on the tab, also about 1880 or 1881. A few were later trimmed: for instance, one was trimmed and signed on the tab about 1881, before going to John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908) () and another about 1886, before sale to Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) (), and an early state reproduced by Kennedy has a butterfly of 1887/1889 on the tab (). 16

16: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 91).