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Speke Shore

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 139
Date: 1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 155 x 230 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 21
Catalogues: K.144; M.142; W.119
Impressions taken from this plate  (21)
Etching: PK144_01
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 138, Speke Shore 139, Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 2 159, Lindsey Houses 161, Greenhithe 173 and Battersea Morn 174, which range in date from 1867 to 1877. The size of these copper plates is similar though not identical, ranging from 150 x 225 mm to 231 x 155 mm. Of these, Speke Shore, Shipping at Liverpool 100 and Sketches of Heads 138 were executed at Speke Hall near Liverpool.
Whistler could have bought several plates at the same time, even as early as 1867, or on 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'). 8
The copper plate was cancelled with a few rough crossed diagonal lines, and short zigzag lines across the figure and parts of the landscape. The cancelled plate was probably among those 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, in exchange for lithographs, from Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958). 9 The plate was given by Miss Philip to the University of Glasgow in 1935.

9: Note by R. Birnie Philip, inserted in the album, Hunterian Art Gallery.