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The Busby

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 368
Date: 1887
Medium: drypoint
Size: 217 x 128 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.437; M.437
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)
Etching: PK437_01
The copper plate of The Busby was in Whistler's studio at his death. It was bequeathed to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), who gave it to the University of Glasgow in 1935. It was cancelled posthumously with a diagonal line across the lower left part of the plate.
The copper plate, at 217 x 128mm, is close in size to four etchings, York Street, Westminster 382 (1887), The Fur Cloak - Mrs Herbert 367 and Nora Quinn 364 (1888), and Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens 465 (1892).
A copper plate was recorded during stock-taking in Whistler's studio at some time in late 1887 or shortly after as 'Miss Lillie / 8 1/2 x 5'. These measurements suggest a vertical plate of about 216 x 127mm. The plate for The Busby is 217 x 128mm, but the millimetre difference is unimportant, particularly since Whistler and his assistants were not particularly precise in their records.
Whistler's measurements often record width before height, so that the plate for 'Miss Lillie' could have been a horizontal plate of about 127 x 216mm, but there are simply no extant horizontal figure studies of that size. 10 It is possible that 'Miss Lillie' refers to a missing plate or that the size given is completely wrong, in which case it is impossible to identify it.

10: J. Whistler, list, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233.