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The Fish Shop, Venice

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 226
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 131 x 223 mm
Signed: butterfly at left and upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 9
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.218; M.215; W.188
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)


Whistler etched the basic composition of this plate and then refined the figures within the archway and fish shop with both drypoint and etched additions. Similarly, he used both the drypoint needle and acid bath to develop the areas of dark shading.
On one impression there are extensive pencil alterations on the shop, street, arch and figures, and pen and wash additions at top and right, indicating possible changes to the fifth state (). This impression is signed with a butterfly of about 1886. However, these changes were not carried out.


The first state is printed in black ink on off-white laid paper, selectively wiped on the water in the foreground and under the archway at right (). Most later impressions are in brown or dark brown ink, including one on ivory laid paper (), another an ivory laid with 'PRO PATRIA' watermark () and buff laid with Strasbourg Lily watermark, printed with a deep area of tone indicating the water in the foreground (). A sixth state is printed in black ink, again with plate tone in the water, and on ivory laid paper (). Several impressions of the seventh state are on ivory laid paper, mostly in dark brown ink (, , ) although one is in black ink (). The ninth state was printed in dark brown ink, for once on an ivory Asian laid paper () but for the tenth state, Whistler returned to black ink on ivory and cream laid papers ().