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Temple Bar

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 175
Date: 1877
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 214 x 137 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.162; M.159; W.133
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


The Pennells described Whistler's method:
'[In] Isle de la Cite, and Fumette's Bent Head, and the unfinished Temple Bar ... [Whistler's method was] to select the exact spot on ... the etching plate, ... where the centre of interest is to be, and to draw this part of his subject. ... his theory... adhered to as long as he lived, was that everything of any interest should be well within the frame or plate mark, as far within as the subject was from him. Having then selected the point of principal interest, he drew that, and drew it completely,... The result was that the picture was finished "finished from the beginning" and there was always about it, on the plate, ... a space which he could fill up with less important details, or leave as he chose.' 14
This composition was tentatively outlined in drypoint before the composition was etched on the plate in the third state. The horse and figures at lower right were probably added in drypoint after the plate was etched, but before the third state was printed, and a further detail of clouds was added in drypoint in the fourth state. It has the vigorous freshness of a sketch, with many details of figures, coaches and buildings left incomplete.


It is fairly rare. There are single proofs of the first state (), printed in black ink on ivory laid paper with a 'DEDB' and beehive watermark, and second state (). There are two of the third state, one in black ink () and one printed in dark brown ink on off-white laid paper with a 'PRO PATRIA' watermark () and finally a single impression of the fourth state, in black ink on ivory laid paper ().