Chelsea Embankment

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Chelsea Embankment, etching, 1886, signed with the butterfly in the plate. Kennedy 260, Glasgow 268, only state. Printed in brownish/black ink on a cream laid paper with a partial Strasbourg Lily watermark. The full sheet, 1 3/4 x 5 1/4, the sheet 5 1/2 x 9 inches. The sheet in good condition (mat stain outside of plate mark).

A fine early impression of this rare print. There was no edition.

Only a few early impressions printed by Whistler are known to Glasgow: two bought by Charles Freer, another by Howard Mansfield, and a few in other institutional collections. Posthumous impressions, printed after the plate was damaged, entered collections in the 1940’s and 50’s (one late impression was given by Rosenwald to the National Gallery in Washington); these impressions had flecks of pitting across the entire surface and a split platemark, or printed on an angle; additional impressions were taken on wove paper with a deeply corroded plate in 2004. Our impression has no sign of plate damage: no pitting flecks, no split platemark; is on laid paper (with the partial Strasbourg Lily watermark), not printed on an angle. It is quite certainly one of the few lifetime impressions.

The subject of the print is the Chelsea Embankment, looking over the river to Battersea, on the River Thames in London.