Home > The Catalogue > Browse > Subjects > Etchings > Etching

Chelsea Embankment

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 268
Date: 1886
Medium: etching
Size: 45 x 135 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 23
Catalogues: K.260; M.256; W.211
Impressions taken from this plate  (23)


Chelsea Embankment was not published.


It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime. An impression was shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and one was lent to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905 by Messrs Ernest Brown and Phillips. 7

7: New York 1904a (cat. no. 220), London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 211).


Messrs Dowdeswell, after consulting the newly published catalogue by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), requested impressions of a number of etchings including this one in February 1887. 8 However, there is no record of Whistler printing or selling any impressons of Chelsea Embankment.

Early impressions may have been bought by Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938) (), and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (). The impression owned by Menpes was later bought from Obach & Co. by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1903 (). A second impression, also bought by Freer in 1903, is similarly trimmed and has a pencil butterfly on the tab that was definitely not drawn by Whistler (). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) owned an unusual impression in brown ink on light grey paper, which was later given by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) to the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC ().

8: Dowdeswell's to Whistler, 4 February 1887, GUW #00888.

In 1909 Amsler und Ruthardt, Berlin, sold a fairly strong impression to the Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden (). A fainter impression was given to Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1932 (). These may be life-time impressions.
Late impressions, taken from the plate after it had deteriorated, include one given by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 1943 (); one bought by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1950 (); and another bought by the Hunterian Art Gallery in 1958 ().
The provenance on various late impressions suggests that some may have been printed by 1920, and others possibly later, in the 1960s. Recent impressions from the badly damaged plate - all printed posthumously- were offered for sale in Great Britain in 1961 and 2004. Eight have been located, including six impressions from the deeply corroded plate sold by 'Matt and Dave' on Ebay in 2004 and bought by a private collector. Seven of these posthumous impressions plate were in a private collection as of 2010 (i.e. ).