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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)


Lochnan wrote that in Shipping at Liverpool: 'Whistler ... employed a much looser line and more casual structure than he had in the early 1860s. The plate troubled him, and he hammered out parts of it in an attempt to resolve the composition to his satisfaction.' 12

12: Lochnan 1984[more], pp. 156, 158.

The main composition was etched but considerable drypoint was used to modify the figures, details of the ships and sky. However, these additions would not have required the plates to be hammered, which suggests that there may have been an earlier composition, or another state, preceding the first known state. It only went through two states, and very few impressions were printed before cancellation.


Very few impressions of Shipping at Liverpool are known before cancellation. The first state was printed in black ink on ivory laid paper with the beehive and 'DEDB' watermark (), and the second on ivory 'antique' (pre-1800) laid paper ().
Shipping at Liverpool was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879. There may have been a print-run of about twenty. Impressions appear to have been printed in black ink on laid papers, including some with Van Gelder (i.e. ) and Strasbourg Lily () watermarks. Impressions of four different cancelled etchings, including this, were printed on the same sheet of ivory laid Van Gelder paper (, , , ).