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Wool Carders

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 195
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: drypoint
Size: 289 x 234 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.221; M.218; W.191
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


It was not published.


It was first exhibited at the Fine Art Society in 1883. For the catalogue Whistler selected a sentence by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) to complement this drypoint : 'They have a merit of their own, and I do not wish to understand it.' to which Whistler added a marginal note:
'Mr Wedmore is the lucky discoverer of the following; - "Vigour and exquisiteness are denied - are they not? - even to a Velasquez"'. 6

6: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 18).

Whistler's catalogue entries were sometimes held against him. The unsympathetic critic of the Saturday Review commented :
'very amusing sub-quotation ... in the expression adopted there is an obvious mark for Mr. Whistler's humour. Only here the figures have no merit that ordinary eyes can discern; they are ridiculously shadow-like suggestions which are as much worth understanding as a gibberish language.' 7
Following on from the London show, the exhibition moved to H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York. Years later, in 1898, another impression was shown by Wunderlich's. An mpression owned by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) was exhibited at a show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 8

8: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 171). See REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.

After Whistler's death, impressions were also shown in New York at the Grolier Club in 1904 and at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, while Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) lent the proof she had inherited from Whistler to another Memorial Exhibition, in Rotterdam in 1906 (). 9

9: New York 1904a (cat. no. 193); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 191); Rotterdam 1906.


There were few impressions printed and the artist therefore asked a fairly high price for it. He sold an impression on 28 April 1887 to Messrs Dowdeswell, London print dealers, for £8.8.0. 10 This may have been the impression acquired by Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) and sold after his death at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 285) to another London dealer, Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for the same price, £8.0.0. It was later owned by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), and Harris G. Whittemore (d. ca 1937) ().

10: GUW #13020.

The artist sold another impression on 18 April 1893 to the Fine Art Society for rather less - £6.6.0. 11 This may have been the impression acquired by Louisine Waldron Havemeyer (1855-1929) (), or Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) ().

11: FAS to Whistler, GUW #01259.