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James Whistler (1834-1903), Penny Passengers, Limehouse, 1860. Etching and drypoint, signed in pencil with a butterfly and inscribed imp, printed in black ink on laid paper, trimmed at the platemark, leaving a signature tab, an impression in the second (final) state, one of only six recorded, 3 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches (8.2 x 20.7 cm)
Provenance: Otto Gerstenberg, stamp verso [Lugt 2785]
Reference: Kennedy 67; Glasgow 71
The buildings on the far bank of the Thames and the ship and their masts moored there show the distinctive draughtsmanship of the period 1859–1860 when Whistler worked in Limehouse and made an etching there which was published in the Thames Set. Penny Passengers, Limehouse is very rare, with only five impressions known, all but our impression in public collections. It shows in outline a group of passengers waiting for the ferry to cross the river. Whistler inscribed the impression from the Samuel P. Avery collection Thames – Limehouse (now in the New York Public Library).