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The Beach, Ostend

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 353
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 82 x 185 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.354; M.347
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


The Beach, Ostend, is pure etching. Faint lines from an earlier subject or an earlier idea are visible at the centre and at right.


It is very rare. Three lifetime impressions of The Beach, Ostend have been located though sales records suggest there was at least one more, plus three printed posthumously. The lifetime impressions were all trimmed to the platemark and signed on a tab with the butterfly and 'imp.' to show that Whistler had printed them; two of these are printed in black ink on ivory laid paper with light surface tone (), one of these being inscribed 'Ostend - 1st State' ().
In 1931, at the request of Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), Nathaniel Sparks (1880-1956) printed three proofs on paper originally owned by Whistler. 9 Two were later recorded in Miss Philip's collection (, ), of which one was sold and has not been located. The other was printed in warm black ink on cream laid paper (). It is signed 'Nathaniel Sparks. / Imp.' on the verso, and is not trimmed to the platemark, and so is easy to distinguish from Whistler's work.

9: Martin Hopkinson, 'Nathaniel Sparks's Printing of Whistler's Etchings', Print Quarterly, 1999, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 340, 343, 349.