James Abbott McNeill Whistler

An original James Abbott McNeill Whistler Drypoint print.


Original etching and drypoint printed in black ink on laid paper bearing the De Ervin de Blauw beehive watermark (a beehive surmounting the letters DEDB in a flowery shield).

Signed in the plate at the lower left corner Whistler.

A fine impression of Kennedy’s only state, Glasgow’s second state of two, printed after the addition of the five wavy drypoint line to the sky upper left.  Published in 1871 by Messrs. Ellis and Green, London, in the series Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects, commonly referred to as the “Thames Set,” one of only 61 known impressions from this plate.

Catalog: Kennedy 75; Mansfield 75; Grolier Club 82; Wedmore 79; Thomas 64; Glasgow 95 ii/ii.

4 1/2 x 6 inches

Sheet Size: 5 3/8 x 6 13/16 inches

After the initial period of two months between August and October of 1859 during which Whistler took up residence in the area of Wapping on the Thames to work on the eight plates that were to become a major portion of the “Thames Set” when they were published over a decade later in 1871, he left for a ten week trip back to Paris where he experimented with the drypoint technique. He returned to London in the spring of 1860 where his initial efforts on the Thames plates were enjoying some success. Encouraged by the success of these etchings, later in the year Whistler returned to the Thames working for extended periods in an inn near the Wapping steamboat pier.

During this period Whistler received a visit from Sergeant Thomas, an elderly lawyer who enjoyed patronizing young artists. As a result of this visit the two entered into a contractual agreement through which Thomas agreed to represent and offer Whistler’s etchings for sale. They began to make plans for Whistler’s first one-man exhibition of etchings which was scheduled to take place the following April at Thomas’s premises at 39 Old Bond Street.

Early in 1861 Whistler returned to the Thames and began to etch additional views in preparation for his forthcoming exhibition. “Early Morning Battersea” is one of the drypoint produced during this period.