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Sketches of Heads

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 138
Date: 1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 155 x 230 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.104; M.101
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)
Etching: PK104_01
Recto, above; verso, below:
Etching: PK104_02
The copper plate bears the stamp of 'B. MAIRE / PLANEUR A PARIS'. This stamp has been found on only seven extant copper plates: Shipping at Liverpool 100, Sketches of Heads, Speke Shore 139, Battersea Morn 174, Greenhithe 173, Lindsey Houses 161 and Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 2 159. The size of these copper plates is not identical but ranges from 150 x 225 mm to 231 x 155 mm. The dates range from about 1867 to 1877. Several of these plates were executed in Liverpool and two in London.
Whistler could have bought several plates at the same time or different occasions when visiting Paris. He wrote to Auguste Delātre (1822-1907) from Speke Hall in 1875 :
'Je compte vous rapporter pas mal de planches ą mon retour - J'en ai pris chez Hughes et Kimber en attendant les autres de chez Maire - '(Translated: 'I hope to bring you numbers of plates on my return - I got some at Hughes and Kimber while waiting for the others from Maire's') 7
This suggests he may have had both Maire and Hughes & Kimber plates in Liverpool.
The cancelled copper plate was probably among plates bought at Whistler's bankruptcy sale by the Fine Art Society, London. It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.
The copper plate was probably among those acquired from Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851), by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) in exchange for lithographs. 8 The plate was later given by Miss Philip to the University of Glasgow in 1935.

8: Note inserted in the album, Hunterian Art Gallery.