Fish Shop, Chelsea


James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Fish Shop, Chelsea, etching and drypoint, 1886, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed imp [also signed with the butterfly in the plate upper left]. References: Kennedy 264, Glasgow 267, first state (of 2). In very good condition (slight staining upper right, trimmed by the artist on the plate mark all around except for the tab. Printed on an ivory laid paper with plate tone, 5 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches.

A limited edition of 50 impressions of Fish Shop, Chelsea was printed in 1886 for the benefit of the Society of British Artists; these were impressions of the first state.  Our impression was thus probably from that edition, although Whistler is known to have reserved about 5 impressions for himself.

A fine impression.

Provenance: Colnaghi, London (with their stock number c10570 verso).

In the relatively rare second state Whistler added drypoint lines to the woman behind the counter of the fish shop.

The etching shows Maunder’s Fish Shop among a row of shops in Chelsea.  The Glasgow catalogue notes: “Mrs Elizabeth Maunder’s fish-shop was at 72 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London. 9 The building was demolished in 1892… Whistler later lived in the house that replaced it, which was built by the architect C. R. Ashbee. The building was destroyed in World War 2. The same row of houses appears in Whistler’s oil painting Street in Old Chelsea painted in the early 1880s, where the fish-shop, with its light plastered walls and steep pitched roof, is just to left of centre.”