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Shipping at Liverpool

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 100
Date: 1867
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 231 x 155 mm
Signed: 'Whistler -' at lower right
Inscribed: '1867 -' at lower right
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 22
Catalogues: K.94; M.94; W.84
Impressions taken from this plate  (22)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879. Impressions from this set include and .


Rarely exhibited, an impression was, however, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) as 'Shipping' to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 and as 'Shipping at Liverpool' to the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 () 13 Another impression was exhibited for sale by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898, and bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (). 14

After Whistler's death, an impression was also shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904 and another at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 15

13: New York 1881 (cat. no. 112); Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 79).

14: New York 1898 (cat. no. 79).

15: New York 1904a (cat. no. 87); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 84). See REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.


An impression of the second state of Shipping at Liverpool was owned by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) and is now in New York Public Library (). It was signed with Whistler's name, the place, 'Liverpool - ' and his butterfly monogram of ca 1876. It is possible that it was among etchings brought to Whistler for signing in 1876, when Avery noted in his diary: 'June 16. Friday ... to Haden saw my lot selected etchings, had lunch with him. ... To Whistler with Wife, met Miss Montalba. got etchings signed &c.' 16

16: Madeleine Fidell-Beaufort, H. L. Kleinfield, Jeanne K. Welcher, The diaries, 1871-1882, of Samuel P. Avery, art dealer, 1876 III/74.

An impression of the first state was acquired by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) and sold through H. Wunderlich & Co. to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1898 (). Others were owned by Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938) () and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) ().
Impressions of Shipping at Liverpool are comparatively rare, and the majority are in the cancelled state.
Surviving impressions from the cancelled plate are often in the album as published in 1879. For instance, the British Museum bought an album in 1887 (), and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a set from Knoedler & Co. in 1893 (). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) also acquired a set in 1887 () which later went to Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Boston Public Library acquired a set (). Finally, a set acquired by J. Littauer, Munich was sold to the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1896 ().
Prices were low but collectors and collections were keen to have the set of cancelled etchings, as a record of a substantial number of otherwise unrecorded etchings and drypoints. A set, probably acquired from the Fine Art Society by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892), was auctioned in 1889 and bought by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for 0.6.0. 17 Dunthorne exchanged it for other works with Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow (see ). She acquired another set, trimmed the impressions and stuck them on the envelopes containing the copper plates (i.e. ).

17: Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1889 (lot 787 or 789).