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The Velvet Dress (Mrs Leyland)

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 120
Date: 1873/1874
Medium: drypoint
Size: 232 x 157 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 7
Known impressions: 17
Catalogues: K.105; M.105; T.76; W.91
Impressions taken from this plate  (17)


Long sweeping drypoint lines outline the dress and extremely delicate lines detail the face and hair, and gradually build up the shadowed curtain background. Early impressions were printed with a delicate burr but this gradually faded. In the final state, a radical revision of the dress and figure was drawn with bold drypoint lines, heavily inked and printed with a strong burr.


It was printed in black ink on a variety of Asian papers. A first state, for instance, was printed in black ink on cream Asian laid paper (), and later impressions (there are only one or two 'proofs' of each state) on various light-weight Asian papers, one with irregular brown fibres (), others thin buff (), off-white () or ivory () papers. Some sheets look as if they have been taken from a book; one, for instance, on ivory Japanese paper has sewing holes at the left edge (). Only one impression is on western paper, and it is the sole known impression of the final state, which is on ivory laid paper with a faint countermark, possibly 'V' ().