|Size:||135 x 99 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at lower centre|
|No. of States:||1|
|Impressions taken from this plate (1)|
'Chateau St Germain' (1889, Whistler). 1
'Château, Touraine' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2
'Chateau St. Germaine, Touraine' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958). 3
'Château, Touraine' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4
Whistler's title 'Chateau St Germain' is confirmed by the label on the envelope containing the plate. However, since no site has actually been confirmed, Mansfield modified this to the more general title 'Château, Touraine', and this has been generally accepted.
In 1864, Daniel Wilson, a Scotsman who had made a fortune installing gaslights in Paris, bought the Château de Chenonceau for his daughter. She held lavish parties until the money ran out and the château was seized. It was sold to José-Emilio Terry, a Cuban millionaire, in 1891 and he sold it in 1896 to a relation, Francisco Terry. 6
This would fit with Whistler's comment that the Sheriff's Officer was 'in full possession', and with the generally run-down appearance of the building.
However, the main Château de Chenonceau is a spectacular building surrounded by a moat, and reached by a bridge, and it is not clear where in the garden or grounds Whistler could have got such a view. 7 The building drawn and etched by Whistler looks more like a substantial house, estate buildings or stables rather than the main château.
The title 'Chateau St Germain' is not helpful: there is a Château St Germain a few kilometres from Loches, Indre-et-Loire. It was built in 1820, but does not look at all like this etching.
6: See J.- M. Rougé, Au pays merveileux des chateaux de Touraine. Vallees du Cher, de l'Indre er de la Vienne, Grenoble, 1939, p. 61; J.P. Babelon, Le Chateau en France, Paris, Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, 1988, pp. 182, 218.
7: See Banister Fletcher, A History of Architecture, Boston, 1987, p. 924; Peter Murray, Architecture of the Renaissance, New York, 1971, p. 321.
This is one of several châteaux etched by Whistler including Château de Bridoré 409 and Château de Verneuil, Touraine 408. All are very small etchings, in direct contrast to the scale of the buildings represented.
8: Georges Monmarche, Les chateaux de la Loire . Orleanais - Blesois - Touraine - Anjou, Paris, 1924, pp. 264-66; Jean-Marie Perouse de Monclos, Chateaux of the Loire valley, Paris, 1997, p. 214.