James Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts; in his youth he studied art in St. Petersburg, London, and Paris, settling in France after a short career as a draftsman for the U.S. Coast Survey. Although he is known primarily for his paintings, Whistler also produced numerous etchings, lithographs, and drypoints.
In 1879, Whistler was commissioned to do a series of etchings in Venice, and following his relocation to London at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (1870), he also produced etchings and lithographs depicting English landscapes and architecture.
Although this etching depicts an English subject – a courtyard along Drury Lane in London, it was published in 1886 with a series of twenty-six etchings known as the “Second Venice Set.” Whistler’s characteristic signature – a monogram of his initials within an abstract butterfly – appears on a wall, between the windows at the upper right. This print likely hung on the second floor of the Deanery, while other etchings by Whistler were located in M. Carey Thomas’ study, the Blue Room.
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- Prints made from an etched printing plate, which is a metal plate on which a design is made by coating the plate with an acid-resistant substance, creating a design in the coating, and then exposing the plate to acid, which etches the plate where the metal is exposed. For designs incised directly into a copper plate using a burin or graver, use "engravings (prints)."
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
Prints of Whistler and Haden from the Bryn Mawr College Collections
Bryn Mawr College
, 3/14/1988 - 3/30/1988