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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)


Given the freedom of the drypoint lines, the loosely structured outlines, and rough, widely spaced lines of shading, filling in the gaps, it is curious that Whistler spent so much time on this drypoint. He made only small changes between each state, slightly enriching the shading, but seems to have been unwilling to attempt a larger edition after the first burst of printing and sales in 1877.


Wedmore wrote 'It is a very scarce dry-point.' 9 Few impressions before cancellation have been located. Whistler seems to have printed only one or at most two impressions of each state. It is possible that impressions of the final state were numbered. A barely legible note on the verso of one impression may read '3. of 7-' but no other similar number has been found ().

9: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 123).

Both the first and last states were printed in black ink on ivory laid paper with the 'DEDB' and/or beehive watermark (, ). Other impressions were printed in dark brown ink on off-white laid paper with 'IV' countermark (), and again, in black ink on ivory laid paper ().
It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879, possibly in an edition of 20 or 24. Impressions were printed in black ink on cream laid Van Gelder paper (); cream wove (); and mostly on ivory laid paper (i.e. ).