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London Bridge

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 172
Date: 1877
Medium: drypoint
Size: 159 x 235 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (3-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 24
Catalogues: K.153; M.150; W.123
Impressions taken from this plate  (24)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.


It was first exhibited, as far as is known, in print dealer's sales at H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898, when Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a first state from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) () and 1903. 10

In addition, both first and second states were included in the exhibition organised by by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (, ). 11

After Whistler's death it was shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904 and in the Boston Whistler Memorial Show of 1904. It was also shown in the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, lent from the Royal Collection. 12

10: New York 1898 (cat. no. 106); New York 1903b (cat. no. 249); see REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.

11: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 111, 111a).

12: New York 1904a (cat. no. 127); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 93); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 123).


It was possibly the print sold as 'Under bridge', by Whistler to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877. 13 In the same year Whistler certainly sold impressions of London Bridge to several London print dealers (Jane Noseda (b. 1813 or 1814), Hogarth & Sons, and the Fine Art Society) for £6.6.0 each. 14 Whistler also sold one to the Royal Collection, which was lent after the artist's death to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 15

An impression from the important collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was sold at auction in 1892 and was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £5.5.0. 16 This was acquired by Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913), bequeathed to his sisters and passed with his collection to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938 ().

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a first state from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) as well as a third state through H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 (, ). Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) acquired an even later state; and although he had owned a remarkable collection of early states of many rare and important etchings, in this case he bought an impression of London Bridge printed with soft surface tone in the late 1870s, but trimmed and signed by Whistler many years later, in the 1890s ().

13: Howell to Whistler, [6-15 November 1877], GUW #02168.

14: [10 October 1877], GUW #12734; 22 October 1877, #12737; 14-16 November [1877], #13668.

15: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 123).

16: Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lot 202).

Sets including the cancelled impression of London Bridge were bought by several collectors. George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) bought a set, which passed eventually to the Baltimore Museum of Art (). The British Museum acquired a set in 1887 (). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) acquired a set in the same year, 1887 (). Freer bought a set from Knoedler & Co. in 1893 ().Yet another was bought at the Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892) sale in 1889 by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £0.6.0 17 This was later acquired by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow, 1958 ().

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a cancelled set in 1893, which he bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art (). J. Littauer (fl. 1896) of Munich sold another set to the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in 1896 (). In Paris, Alfred Strölin sold a fine set to Jacques Doucet in 1907, which he gave to the Bibliothèque Jacques Doucet in 1918 ().

17: Sotheby's, 13 December 1889 (lot 787 or 789).