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Merton Villa, Chelsea

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 381
Date: 1888
Medium: etching
Size: 153 x 230 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: 'to Trix - / Merton Villa / Chelsea' at lower left
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.277; M.273
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


It was never published.


Merton Villa, Chelsea was a very personal and rare etching. It was little known and rarely exhibited. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) lent what he called the first proof to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 11

11: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 247).

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent an impression to both the Boston and London Whistler Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death (). In addition it was shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904. 12

12: New York 1904a (cat. no. 322); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 298); New York 1904a (cat. no. 322).


This is extremely rare. One impression was sold by Whistler to H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, for £10.10.0 on 29 June 1888 and another, at the same price, to the Fine Art Society, London, on 18 December 1888. 13 Wunderlich's sold their impression to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) a month later (). It had particularly strong associations for Freer, who was in frequent correspondence with Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896), who is almost certainly the woman in the etching, and handled many of Whistler's print sales.

13: GUW #13052, #12999.

In 1903, shortly before Whistler's death, David A. Kennedy (fl.1895-1915) asked Whistler for another impression, but none was forthcoming. 14 The only one still in Whistler's studio at his death was bequeathed to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who gave it to the University of Glasgow ().

14: 27 March 1903, GUW #07340.