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Tatting

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
(1924.644)
Number: 130
Date: 1874
Medium: etching
Size: 126 x 74 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: Fine Art Society
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 10
Catalogues: K.112; M.111; W.98
Impressions taken from this plate  (10)

PUBLICATION

In 1880 The Two Ships 143 and Tatting 130 were published, as announced in a circular as follows:
'MESSRS. / DOWDESWELL & DOWDESWELLS / HAVE THE PLEASURE TO ANNOUNCE THE PUBLICATION / OF TWO NEW ETCHINGS BY / JAMES ABBOT McNEIL WHISTLER. / THE TWO SHIPS. 30 PROOFS, NUMBERED 3 3 0 / PLATE DESTROYED. / TATTING. 25 PROOFS, NUMBERED . . . []1 1 0 / PLATE DESTROYED. / (A COMPANION TO THE MUFF, BY THE SAME ARTIST.)' 16
At this date, Whistler was in Venice working on a set of etchings for the Fine Art Society, and the plates advertised by Dowdeswell's were not 'new' as Ernest George Brown (1853/1854-1915) of the F.A.S. pointed out bitterly:
'I have persuaded a great many people to put off buying etchings until they had seen yours and they are growing tired of waiting. And the worst of it is I have heard today that Dowdeswell has announced two new plates by you[.] Of course I know they cannot really be new but the public will not know this and it puts us in an awkward position. Where did they get them from?' 17
Messrs Dowdeswell almost certainly obtained the plate from Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890). Brown's boss, Marcus Bourne Huish (1843-1904), also wrote, when sending a cheque to Whistler:
'So I hope that now we've met all your wants you will hurry back with all your trophies which I'm very glad to hear of - for every one is getting very impatient & less scrupulous people are taking advantage of the stir that has been made of your being in Venice - for instance our late salesman Dowdeswell has got from Howell two old plates of yours & he is actually saying that he's just received them from Venice from you -'. 18

EXHIBITIONS

It was rarely exhibited. However, an impression from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) was shown by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (). The same firm exhibited an impression in 1903. 19 Another impression was in the show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (). 20

After Whistler's death, an impression was shown in the comprensive Memorial Exhibition at the Grolier Club, New York in 1904 and another one from the collection of King Edward VII () was shown in the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 21

19: New York 1898 (cat. no. 93); New York 1903b (cat. no. 80). See REFERENCE : EXHIBITIONS.

20: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 92).

21: New York 1904a (cat. no. 104); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 98).

SALES & COLLECTORS

Whistler sold an impression of 'Miss Dawson Sitting' which might be this drypoint, to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877 for 3.3.0. 22

When it was published by Messrs Dowdeswell, Tatting does not seem to have sold very well. Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) commented dismissively that both Tatting and Reading a Book 112 'have little value'. 23 In 1881 an impression was for sale by the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for 1.1.0. 24

However, major collectors like Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (), Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) () and Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) () later acquired impressions.

22: 9-11 November 1877, GUW #12738.

23: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 98).

24: Robert Dunthorne at the Cabinet of Fine Arts, Vigo Street, 1881, p.23.

An impression shown by Obach & Co. in London was almost certainly the one sold to the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, for 2.10.0 in 1903 (). 25

One from the Royal collection, shown in the Whistler Memorial show of 1905, was sold in the following year through Messrs Agnew and Messrs Obach & Co. in London to H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, and acquired by John Henry Wrenn (1841-1911), whose widow bequeathed it to the Art Institute of Chicago (). 26

25: London Obach 1903 (cat. no. 92).

26: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 98).