The Little Putney, 1879

James Whistler, The Little Putney, 1879, etching and drypoint, signed with the large butterfly lower right (also with the butterfly in the plate). Glasgow 187, third state (of 3). 124 x 201 mm. In very good condition, with wide margins (a tiny rust spot right margin), printed in brownish/black ink on laid paper.

Provenance: S.H. Nazeby Harrington (lugt 1349), with his stamp lower left recto. Harrington was an art critic, author of the catalogue raisonne for Seymour Haden (Whistler’s brother-in-law) prints.

A very fine impression, with substantial plate tone. MacDonald (Glasgow) notes that relatively few impressions of the third state were printed, and that the final state is sometimes “richly printed”, as exemplified in this impression.

This relatively rare print should not be confused with the more common prints Little Putney Bridge (Glasgow 186) or the Old Putney Bridge (Glasgow 185).

The subject of the print is well described in the Glasgow catalog, and so I’ll show a copy below:

On the right is a large two-storey building with a triangular pediment on the bank of a broad river, with an iron pier in front of it, at which a barge is moored. The bank beyond is wooded, with occasional houses. In the river is a small sailing barge with furled sails, and two smaller barges or lighters beside it. At far left a jetty or boat projects from the bank of the river. There are slight indications of reflections in the water.
The River Thames at Putney in London. The area has been extensively developed and this exact site has not been identified, although it seems likely that Whistler was working from a raised viewpoint, possibly from old Putney bridge. There is now a substantial pub, the Star and Garter, on the bank upstream from the bridge, which may have replaced the neo-classical building (since the view is as usual reversed in the print, the two-storey building was actually to Whistler’s left).