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Dipping the Flag

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 308
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 82 x 178 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 10
Catalogues: K.325; M.319; W.242
Impressions taken from this plate  (10)


The minimal etched lines of the composition were touched up with a few light patches of drypoint to soften the horizon and sky.


Whistler kept a 'Printing List' of the 'Naval Review Set'. By 19 August 1887 he had six impressions of 'Dipping the Flag' in stock (another column mentions seven, but is not dated), and printed a further three on 28 August, five on 1 September, three on 4 September, and two on 26 September. 7 This ought to mean a total of about twenty, but only about half that number have been located, suggesting that the list includes a record of works in stock.

7: [18 August- 26 September 1887], GUW #13234.

Impressions were printed in dark brown ink on ivory laid paper (i.e. , ), one with a Strasbourg Lily watermark () and another with an 'IV' countermark (); also in dark brown on medium weight ivory 'antique' (pre-1800) laid paper with brown fibres (). A few are in black ink, for instance, one on cream laid (, ) and another on ivory laid paper (). Several are selectively and sensitively wiped with light, graduated ink tone (i.e. , ). All are trimmed to the platemark and signed on the tab with the butterfly and 'imp.' to show that Whistler printed them.