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Antique Prints: Whistler And Haden
( Original Published 1903 )
In England, the Revival of Etching, so far as one can fix its origin at all, seems due, in chief, to the great practical work of two etchers of individual vision and exceptional power-Whistler and Seymour Haden. Much writing on the subject-and some of it, I hope, not bad-has also scarcely been without its effect. It has at least roused and sustained some interest in Etching, amongst the public that reads. It cannot, fairly, ever have been expected to produce great artists.
Whistler and Haden are, it is now allowed, amongst the Classics already. Each has a place that will not be disturbed. Each is an honoured veteran. The work of Seymonr Haden has been closed long ago. It is years since he gave his etching-needle to Mr Keppel of New York; saying, with significant gesture, " I shall etch no more." From the other delightful veteran no such 100 formal declaration has-so far as I understand-as yet proceeded. Mr Whistler may even now surprise us by a return from Lithography. His lithographs, which will be considered more or less in the final chapter of this book, are indeed admirable and engaging. But it is by his etchings that Mr Whistler's fame will live. And though he began to etch two score of years ago, one would be sorry even now to feel it was quite certain that the last of his etchings had been done.
We will speak of Seymour Haden first. He is the older of the two, and his practical work is admittedly over. His etching, though conceived always on fine lines, has somehow always been much more intelligible to the large public than Whistler's. For years, in England and America, he has enjoyed something as near to popular success as sterling work can ever get; and in days when I was able to pick up for six shillings, in Sotheby's auction-rooms, the dry-point of Whistler's Fanny Leyland which would now be considered ridiculously cheap at just as many guineas-Seymour Haden's River in Ireland was selling (when it appeared and could be bought at all) at quite substantial prices. His published series of Etchings, with the text by Monsieur Burty, and then the eulogies of Mr Hamerton, had done something, and justifiably, towards what is called "success"-the success of recognition, I mean, as distinguished from the success of achievement, which was certainly his besides. And then-in the nick of time -there had come the Agamemnon, almost the largest fine etching one can call to mind; for, in Etching, "important size" often means vulgarity. The Agamem non had an immense sale. It was seen about so much, in the rooms of people who aspired to Taste, that it became what foolish men call "vulgarised." As if the multiplication of excellent work-its presence in many places, instead of only a few-was positively a nuisance and a disadvantage! Anyhow, Seymour Haden had already entered into fame.
In 1880, the late Sir William Drake-an intimate friend who had collected Haden and admired himissued, through the Macmillans, a descriptive Catalogue of Haden's etched work. The Catalogue takes note of a hundred and eighty-five pieces. Scarcely anything, I think, is omitted. Of the substantial work none bears an earlier date than 1858; but fifteen years before that-when he was a very young man, journeying-Haden had scratched on half-a-dozen little coppers sparse notes of places of interest he had seen in Italy; and very long ago now (when Sir Seymour was living in Hertford Street) he showed me, I remember, the almost unique impressions from these practically un known little plates. They were impressions upon which a touch or so with the brush had-if I remember rightly-a little fortified the dreamy and delicate sketch which the copper had received. There is neither need nor disposition to insist too much on the existence of these plates, or rather upon the fact that once they were wrought. They scarcely claim to have merit. But the fact that they were wrought shows one thing a collector may like to know-it shows that Seymour Haden's interest in Etching began before the days of that French Revival in which was executed undoubtedly the bulk of his work.
These little prints, then, as far as they went, were in quite the right spirit. They were jottings, impressions -had nothing of labour in them. But in the interval that divides them from the important and substantive work of 1858, 1859, 1860, and later years, the artist must have studied closely, though he was in full practice, most of that time, as a surgeon. In the interval, he had lived, so to put it, with Rembrandt ; he had become familiar with Claude. And though they influenced, they did not overpower him. By 1864, there were fifty or sixty prints for M. Burty to chronicle and eulogise, in the Gazette des Beaux Arts. The greatly praised Shere Mill Pond had been done in 1860. Mytton Hall-which, unlike Mr Hamerton, I prefer to the Shere-had been wrought one year earlier. It shows a shady avenue of yew-trees leading to an old manor-house which receives the full light of the sun; and in that print, early as it may seem, there was already the breadth of treatment which as years proceeded became more and more a characteristic of Seymour Haden's work. In 1863 came, amongst many other good things, Battersea Reach, which in the First State bore on it this inscription of interest: "Old Chelsea, Seymour Haden, 1863, out of Whistler's window." To the same year belongs the charming plate, Whistler's House, Old Chelsea. The tide is out, the mud is exposed; on the left is Lindsay Row; and beyond, and to the right, Chelsea Old Church and Battersea Bridge: the picturesque wooden pile-bridge of that privileged day. It was not till 1870 that there came the Agamemnon-the Breaking-up of the Agamemnon, to give it its full title-a view, in reality, of the Thames at Greenwich, seen under sunset light, the hull of the old ship partially swung round by the tide. This very favourite print exists in a couple of States. The Second, though less rare, is scarcely perceptibly less fine than the First. In it a smoking chimney, a brig under sail, and two small sailing-boats -all of them objects in extreme distance-have been replaced by indications of the sheds of a dockyard. In the Heywood Sale, a rich impression of the Agamemnon -the State not specified, but in all probability a First -sold for £7, 10s. In the Sir William Drake Sale, twelve years afterwards-in 1892- a First State fetched £7, 7s.; a Second, £6, 15s.
For convenience' sake, I will name a few more excellent and characteristic works-prints which have Seymour Haden's most distinguishing qualities of frankness, directness, and an obvious vigour. His etchings are deliberately arrested at the stage of the sketch ; and it is a sketch conceived nobly and executed with impulse. The tendency of the work, as Time went on, was, as has been said, towards greater breadth; but unless we are to compare only such a print as Out of Study-IiTindoev, say (done in 1859), with only the most admirable Rembrandt like, Geddes-like dryprint, Windmill 2ill (done in 1877), there is no greatly marked contrast; there is no surprise; there is but a steady and not unnatural development. I put this down, in part at least, to the fact that when Seymour Haden first took up Etching seriously (in 1858, remember) he was already middle-aged. He had lived for years in the most frequent intercourse with dignified Art; his view of Nature, and of the way of rendering her-or of letting her inspire you-was large, and likely to be large. Yet as Time went on there came no doubt an increasing love of the sense of spaciousness and of potent effect. The work was apt to be more dramatic and more moving. The hand asked the opportunity for the fuller exercise of its freedom.
Sawley Abbey, etched in 1873, is an instance of this, and not alone for its merits is it interesting to mention it, but because, like a certain number of its fe llows amongst that later work, it is etched upon zinc-a risky substance, which succeeds admirably, when it succeeds, and when it fails, fails very much. Windmill Hill-two subjects of that name-Nine Barrow .Down, Wareham Bridge, and the Little Boathouse, and again that Grim Spain which illustrates my "Four Masters of Etching" are the prints which I should most choose to possess amongst those of Haden's later period; whilst-going back to the period of 1864 and 1865-Sunset on the Thames is at the same time a favourite and strong, and Fenton Hook remarkable for its draughtsmanship of tree-trunk and stump. Yet earlier-for they belong to 1860 and 1859-there are the Mytton Hall, which I have spoken of already, and the Combo Bottom. Combo Bottom is unsurpassed for sweetness and spontaneity. And Mytton Hall has its full share of that priceless element of Style which is never altogether absent from Seymour Haden's work. Again-and most acceptable of all to some of usThe Water Meadow (which has been circulated very largely) is, in a perfect impression, to be studied and enjoyed as a vivacious, happy, sympathetic transcript of a sudden rain-storm in the Hampshire lowlands, where poplars flourish and grass grows rank. The collector who can put these things into his foliosand a little diligence in finding them out, and three or four guineas for each print, will often enable him to do so-will have given himself the opportunity of confirmation in the belief that among modern etchers of Landscape, amongst modern exponents in the art of Black and White of an artistic sympathy with pure and ordinary Nature, Seymour Haden stands easily first. And to say that, is not to say that he succeeds equally, or has equally tried to succeed, with portraiture or figure-studies. It is not to compare him -to his advantage or disadvantage-with any other artist in the matter of the etcher's peculiar skill and technical mastery.
The best collection of Seymour Haden's work that has ever been sold in detail was the collection of Sir William Drake. In it the First State of A River in Ireland-of which only twelve impressions had been taken-fetched £49 (Dunthorne) ; and the First State of Shere Mill Pond, ;C35; a unique impression of Battersea Railway Bridge fetched £18, 10s. (Deprez); Eritlz Marshes, First State, £4, 4s.; Coombe Bottom, First State, 13; Sunset on the Thames, First State, £2, 12s.; and Sawley Abbey, First State, £2, 4s.
With the master-etchers of the world-Meryon's equal in some respects, and, in some respects, Rembrandt's-there stands James Whistler. Connoisseurs in France and England, in America, Holland, Bavaria, concede this, now. It was fiercely contested of old time, and there is not much cause for wonder in that, for the work of Mr Whistler is, and has been from the first almost, so desperately original that the world could hardly be expected to be ready to receive it. And Mr Whistler never by anything approaching to cheap issue facilitated familiarity with his work. In 1868 Mr Hamerton wrote of him: "I have been told that, if application is made to Mr Whistler for a set of his etchings "-the set, it maybe said in parenthesis, was a very small one then-" he may perhaps, if he chooses to answer the letter, do the applicant the favour to let him have a copy for about the price of a good horse; but beyond such exceptional instances as this, Mr Whistler's etchings are not in the market." They have been in the market since, however-everybody knows-and if in 1868 a "set" (the Thames Set or the French Set was meant, presumably) was valued by Mr Whistler at the price of a horse, of late years a single print, such as the Zaandam for instance, has been valued by Mr Whistler at thc price of a Humber cycle. Even in the days-some sixteen years ago, or so-when the work of the delightful master was least appreciated, there was an enormous difference in the price of a print obtained through what are known as the "regular channels" and its price if obtained in open competition, under the hammer at Sotheby's. Those great days!-or days of great opportunities -when, as I have said before, I became possessed for six shillings of Fanny Leyland, and, for hardly more than six shillings, of the yet rarer dry-point, Battersea Dawn.
About a dozen years ago, I, with the enthusiasm of a convert, began a Catalogue of Whistler's prints, intending it for my own use. I finished it for my brother-collectors, and for poor Mr Thibaudeau, who refreshed me with money-and a little for Mr Whistler, too, if he was minded to receive my offering. The only previously existing Catalogue-that of Mr Ralph Thomas-had been published twelve years earlier, and had meantime become of little service. There were several reasons for that, but, to justify my own attempt -which, as in the case of Meryon, has been justified indeed by my brother-collectors' reception of it-it will suffice if I mention one. Mr Thomas, working in 1874, catalogued about eighty etchings. I, finishing my work in 1886, catalogued two hundred and fourteen. Of the additional number only a few are prints which had been already wrought when Mr Thomas wrote, and which had escaped his notice. By far the greater portion have been etched in more recent years. And many of them are unknown to the amateur-by sense of sight at least-even to this day.
Whistler's etchings are so scattered, and so many of them are, and must ever be, so very rare, that I could not have done what I did if several diligent collectors, well placed for the purpose, had not helped me. Mr Thibaudeau himself-the erudite dealer-amassed much information, and placed it at my service. Mr Samuel Avery, when Mr Keppel took me to see him in East 38th Street, in the autumn of 1885, put at my disposal everything he knew; and his collection was even then the worthy rival of what Mr Howard Mansfield's is now-the rival, almost, of Seymour Haden's own collection of Whistler's, which went to America a few years ago: drawn thither by the instrumentality of a great cheque from Mr Kennedy. Mr Mortimer Menpes-much associated with Whistler at that time, and who, I suppose, retains the fine collection of Whistler's he then possessed-took much trouble with me in the identification of the rare things he owned, and I had to express my thanks to Mr Barrett of Brighton, to the Reverend Stopford Brooke, Mr Henry S. Theobald, and some of the best-known London dealers-to Mr Brown of the Fine Art Society, and Mr Walter Dowdeswell, an enthusiast for Whistler, who furnished me with delightful notes I never published, on the precise condition of the impressions in my own set of the "Twenty-Six Etchings." Again, I saw-what any one may see-such of the Whistler prints as are possessed by the British Museum Print-Room. And, lastly, I had access, more than once, to Mr. Whistler's own collection; but that unfortunately was very incomplete. It consisted chiefly of the later etchings.
It is now about forty years since Whistler began to etch; but his work in Etching has never been continuous or regular, and though he has done a certain number of things, some fine, some insignificant, since the appearance of my Catalogue, of late his work in Etching appears to have almost ceased. Looking back along his life, one may say, periods there have been when he was busy with needle and copper-periods, too, during which he laid them altogether aside. The first chronicled, the first completed plate, was done, it was believed, in 1857--when he was a young man in Paris. But he told me there existed, somewhere or other, in the too safe keeping of public authorities in America, a plate on which, before he left the public service of the States, he neglected to fully engrave that map or view for the Coast Survey which the authorities expected of him, but did not neglect to engrave upon the plate, in truant mood, certain sketches for his own pleasure. The plate was confiscated. Young Mr Whistler was informed that an unwarrantable thing had been done. He perfectly agreed-he told the high official-with that observation. In removing a plate from the hands of its author before he had completed his pleasure upon it, its author had been treated unwarrantably. Just as my Catalogue-a " Study and a Catalogue," I call it-was going to press, there arrived from Now York-sent thence to London by the courtesy of Mr Kennedy, its owner-an impression from the copper I have spoken of. It is a curiosity, and not a work of Art-a geographer's view of the coast.
It will be noticed from my little anecdote, that, at a very early period of his life, Mr Whistler was in the right, absolutely, and other people in the wrong-and in the right he has remained ever since, and has believed it, in spite of some intelligent and much unintelligent criticism. He has been (let the collector be very sure of this) a law unto himself-has worked in his own way, at his own hours, on none but his own themes: the result of it, I dare to think deliberately, the preservation of a freshness which, with artists less true to their art and their own mission, is apt to suffer and to pass away. And with it the charm passes. Now Whistler's newest work-his work of this morning, be it etching or lithograph-possesses the interest of freshness, of vivacity, of a new and beautiful impression of the world, conveyed in individual ways, just as much as did his early work of nearly forty years ago. When the comparatively few people whose artistic sensibilities allow them to really understand the delicacy of Mr Whistler's method, shall but have known it long enough, they will not be found, as some among the not quite unappreciative are found to-day, protesting that there is a want of continuity between the earlier efforts and the later, and that the vision of pretty and curious detail, and the firmness and daintiness of hand in recording it, which confessedly distinguished the etchings of France and of the Thames below Bridge, are missing to the later plates or the plates of the middle period-to the dry-points of what I may term the Leyland period (when he drew all three Miss Leylands, their father and their mother too, and Speke Hall, where they lived), and to the more recent Venetian etchings. Peccavi. ! I have myself, in my time, thought that this continuity was wanting. I have told Mr Whistler with exceeding levity of speech, that when, in the Realms of the Blest, he desired, on meeting Velasquez and Rembrandt, not to disappoint them, he must be provided, for his justification, with his Thames etchings in their finest states. It would be a potent introduction. But I am not sure that the Venetian portfolios-the "Venice" and the "Twenty-Six Etchings," which are most of them Venetian in theme-would not serve Mr Whistler in good stead. For-spite of some insignificant things put out not long after the appearance of my Catalogue, along indeed, or almost along with some fine ones of Brussels and Touraine-there is a continuity which the thorough student of Mr Whistler's work will recognise. There is often in the Venetian things-as in the Doorway of the "Venice," and in The Garden and The Balcony of the "Twenty-Six Etchings"-an advance in the impression produced, a greater variety and flexibility of method, a more delightful and dexterous effacing of the means used to bring about the effect.
The Venetian etchings-some people thought at first they were not satisfactory because they did not record that Venice which the University-Extension-educated tourist, with his guide-book and his volumes of Ruskin, goes out from England to see. But I doubt if Mr Whistler troubled himself about the guides or read the sacred books of Mr Ruskin with becoming attention. Mr Ruskin had seen Venice nobly, with great imagination; Mr Fergusson and a score of admirable architects had seen it learnedly; but Mr Whistler would see it for himself-that is to say, he would see in his own way the Present, and would see it quite as certainly as the Past. The architecture of Venice had impressed folk so deeply that it was not easy in a moment to realise that here was a great draughtsman-a man too of poetic vision-whose work it had not been allowed to dominate. The past and its record were not Whistler's affair in Venice. For him, the lines of the steam-boat, the lines of the fishing-tackle, the shadow under the squalid archway, the wayward vine of the garden, had been as fascinating, as engaging, as worthy of chronicle, as the domes of St Mark's.
Yet we had not properly understood Mr Whistler's work in England, if we supposed it could be otherwise. From associations of Literature and History this artist from the first had cut himself adrift. His subject was what he saw, or what he decided to see, and not anything that he had heard about it. He had dispensed from the beginning with those aids to the provocation of interest which appeal most strongly to the worldto the person of sentiment, to the literary lady, to the man in the street. We were to be interested-if we were interested at all-in the happy accidents of line and light he had perceived, in his dexterous record, in his knowing adaptation.
I must be allowed to say, however-and it is useful to the collector that I should say it plainly-that there was some justification (much more than Mr Whistler, I suppose, would allow) for those of us who did not bow the knee too readily before the Venetian prints. In the States in which they were first exhibited, there was, with all their merits, something ragged and disjointed about several of them. Mr Whistler worked more upon them later, adding never of course merely finicky detail, but refinement, suavity. Of these particular plates, the collector should remember, it is not the earlier impressions that are the ones to be desired. It is, rather, the later impressions, when the plate was, first, perfected-then even, if need arose through any wear in tirage, suitably refreshed.
To return for a moment to Whistlerian characteristics. Though the value of many of his etchings, as Mr Whistler might himself tell us, consists in the exquisiteness of their execution and of their arrangement of line, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that amongst the many things it has been given to Mr Whistler to perceive, it has been given him to perceive beautiful character and exquisite line in Humanity -that, certainly, just as much as quaintness and charm in the wharves and warehouses of the Port, in the shabby elegance of the side canals of Venice, in the engaging homeliness of little Chelsea shop-fronts. The almost unknown etching of his mother - one of the most refined performances of his career, as exquisite, in its own way, as the famous painting which is displayed at the Luxembourg-proves his possession of the quality which permitted Rembrandt to draw with the reticence of a convincing pathos his most impressive portraits of the aged-the Lutma, the Clement de Jonyhe, the Mere de Rembrandt, au voile noir.
Again the Fanny Leyland, and The Muff, and many another print that I could name, attest Mr Whistler's solution of a problem which presents itself engagingly, attractively, to the ingenious, and uselessly to the incompetent-the problem of seeing beauty in modern dress, and grace in the modern figure. Whistler, no more than Degas, Sargent, or J. J. Shannon, sighs for the artificial dignity of the fashions of other times. Even at moments when modern Fashion is not in truth at its prettiest, he is able to descry a piquancy in the contemporary hat, and to find a grace in the flutter of flounce and frill. What else after all should we expect from an artist the sweep of whose brush would give distinction to the Chelsea Workhouse, or to the St George's Union Infirmary in the Fulham Road, and for whom, under the veil of night or dusk, the chimney of the Swan Brewery would wear an aspect not less beautiful than King's College Chapel? It has been given to the master of Etching to see everyday things with a poetic eye.
" Take care of the extremities," said old Couture, to a painter who addressed himself to the figure: "take care of the extremities, for all the life is there." But that it may truly be answered, is what Mr Whistler has often neglected to do. It may be rejoined, however, that where he has neglected to do it, somehow "all the life" has not gone out of his work. And the hand of the man sitting in the boat, in one of the most desirable of the early Thames etchings, Black Lion Wharf, and (to name no other instance) the hands in the painting of Sarasate of a dozen years ago, are reminders of how completely it is within Mr Whistler's power to indicate the life, the temperament, by "the extremities," when it suits his work that he shall do so. And the avoidance, so often commented upon, of this detail here, and of that detail there, itself reminds us of something important-nay, perhaps of the central fact which determines the direction of so much of this great etcher's labour. It reminds us that whether Mr Whistler's work is record of Nature or not, it has at all costs to be conclusive evidence of Art. And for the one as well as for the other, he has had need to know, not only what to do - a difficult thing enough, sometimes-but a more difficult thing yet: what to avoid doing. In other words, selection plays in his work a part unusually important, and he has occupied himself increasingly, not with the question of how to imitate and transcribe, but with the question how best to imply and to suggest. In nearly all his periods he is the master of an advanced art, which gives a curious and a various and a continual pleasure.
And now a word or two on what is matter of business to the collector-the business of the acquisition of Whistler's etchings. Unlike the thousand prints which, in these later days of "the Revival," are the inadequate result of the laborious industry of popular people-and which have served their purpose when, framed and mounted, they have covered for a while the wall-paper in every builder's terrace in Bayswaterworks of the individuality, the flexibility, the genius in fine of Whistler, appeal to the collector of the highest class and of the finest taste, and, it may be even, to him alone. They lie already in the portfolio by the side of Rembrandts and Meryons. It is not easy to get them; or, rather, there are some which it is only difficult, and some which it is impossible, to possess. Certain of the coppers are known to have been destroyed; others, which one cannot always parti cularise, are in all probability destroyed. Then again there are dry-points, never very robust; some of them so delicate, so evanescent, that the plate, should it exist, would prove to be worth nothing. It has yielded, perhaps, half-a-dozen impressions, and they have gone far towards exhausting it. Many plates, again, exist, no doubt, in the late State, or in the undesirable condition, and some are yet intact, and others, like the two Venetian series-the "Venice" and the "TwentySix "-economically managed from the beginning, have yielded a substantial yet never an extensive array of such proofs as satisfy the eye that is educated.
Publication-if one can quite call it so-of Mr Whistler's etchings first began in 1859, when the artist had worked seriously for only two or three years.
Thirteen etchings, generally called "the French Set," were printed then by Delatre in Paris, in very limited numbers, on the thin Japan or China or on the good old slightly-ribbed paper that the collector loves. The " Thames Set "-sixteen in number, and consisting of the majority of the River pieces executed up to that time-were the next to be offered. But they appeared, publicly, only in 1871, when, as Mr Ellis was good enough to tell me, "Ellis & Green" bought the plates and had a hundred sets printed. Their printing was rather dry, so that it is really by the rare impressions which either Mr Whistler himself, or Delatre it may be, had printed, years before, that these plates are to be judged. It is these impressions which represent them most perfectly-it is these the true collector demands-though I would not speak disrespectfully of the impressions printed by Mr Goulding when the Fine Art Society bought the plates of Mr Ellis, or of the subsequent ones printed when Mr Keppel, in his turn, bought the coppers of the Fine Art Society.
Of the two other recognised sets-the "Venice" of the Fine Art Society and the "Twenty-Six Etchings of the Dowdeswells-it must be said first that neither has been subjected to the vicissitudes that attended the earlier plates. The dozen prints in the "Venice" were first issued by the Fine Art Society in the year 1880; but, as I have said earlier, very few of the fine and really finished impressions-of the hundred permitted from each plate-date from as early as that year. The "Twenty-Six Etchings," issued by the Messrs Dowdeswell, were brought out in 1886; Mr Whistler himself printing, with consummate skill, every mortal copy, and making the most interesting little changes, repairs, improvements, at the press-side. Of most of the subjects there were but fifty impressions.
These things are wholly admirable, and mostlyit is evident-are rare; but the extremest rarity is reserved for a few of those many plates which do not belong to any set at all, and were never formally issued. Thus Paris, Isle de la Cit-etched from the Galerie d'Apollon in the Louvre-is of unsurpassable rarity; and it is singularly interesting as having, though with a date as early as 1859, very distinct characteristics of a style of which the wider manifestation came much later. The First State of the Rag Gatherers is of great, though not of quite such extraordinary rarity. The Kitchen, in the First State, is not exceptionally rare. It should be had, if possible, in the Second, for, many years after its first execution, Mr Whistler took it up again, and then, and then only, was it that he per fected it. In subtlety of illumination, in that Second State, it is as fine as any painting of De Hooch's. Westminster Bridge is very rare and very'desirable in the First State; in the Second-by which time it has, gone into the regular "Thames Set" or "Sixteen Etchings"-it has lost all its delicacy and harmony: it is hard and dry. The figure-pieces of the Leyland period -dry-points, nearly always-are very rare. They include not only a little succession of portraitsthe lovely print of Fanny Leyland I have referred to already-but likewise a succession of studies of paid or of familiar models, of which the Model Resting is one of the most beautiful. There is Tillie : a model, too: likewise of great rarity and charm. Of the larger etchings, three of the finest are the Putney Bridge, the Battersea Bridge, and the Large "Pool." Beyond this scale, Etching can hardly safely go. Even this scale would be a danger to some, though Mr Whistler has managed it. But then, that art of his-like Iiembrandt's own-can "blow on brass" as well as "breathe through silver." He "breathes through silver " in the dainty rarities of a later time, the little Chelsea shop subjects-Old Clothes Shop, Fruit Shop. Are there half-a-dozen impressions of them anywhere in the world? And then, the poetic charm of Price's Candle Works-the easy majesty of London Bridge!
As to the prices of Whistlers in the open market? Well, they increase, unquestionably. Some of the very greatest rarities, it may be remembered, have never appeared in the auction-room. There are half-adozen, I suppose, for any one of which, did it appear, forty or fifty guineas would cheerfully be paid. The average price, now, of a satisfactory Whistler - to speak to the collector very roughly, and always with the difficulty of striking an average at all-the average dealer's price might now be eight guineas. But we will look at the Catalogues; premising, as has been premised already, that there are some rarer things than any that are there chronicled. The time when Mr Hey wood sold his Whistlers was the fortunate time to buy. A First State of the Ray Gatherers was sold then for less than two pounds; a First of the Westminster Bridge (then called "The House of Parliament"), for about five pounds; and many quite desirable things went for a pound a piece, and some for a few shillings. In 1892, when there came the sale of Mr Hutchinson's collection, and of Sir William Drake's, opinion was more formed; yet nothing like the prices that would be reached to-day were attained then. In Mr Hutchinson's collection, the First State of the Marchande de Moutarde rare, but not especially rare-went for £1, 10s.; the First State of the Kitelzen for £8, 15s.; the Lime Burners for £6, 10s.; a trial proof of the Arthur for £10, 15s.; a trial proof of the Whistler for £15, 10s. Again, the Weary fetched £12; the First State of Speke .Hall, £9, 12s.; the Fanny Leyland, £15, 10s.; From Pickled Herring Stairs, l6, 6s.; the Palaces, £8, 15s.; the San Biagio, £7, 10s.; the Garden, £5, 10s.; the Wool Carders, L8; the Little Drawbridge, Amsterdam, £9, 15s.; the Zaandagn, £10. At the Drake Sale-a smaller one, as far as Whistlers were concerned-ten guineas was given for the Kitchen; £19 for the Forge. It must be added that this Forge, which is in the second published set (the "Thames series" or "Sixteen Etchings," call them which you will) is in the quality of its different impressions more unequal than almost any print I know. It varies from an ineffective ghost to a thing of beauty. At £19, let us hope it was a thing of beauty; but very much oftener it is an ineffective ghost-desperately over-rated.