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The Honeymoon Tour

After marrying Beatrice Godwin on 11 August 1888, Whistler set off on his honeymoon to the chateaux of the Loire and the towns of Touraine, taking with him 34 prepared plates. In most of the etchings that he made during the trip, he avoided the obvious tourist sites, and concentrated on picturesque settings rather than figures, much as he had done in Venice, London and Brussels.

He generally referred to the etchings of this tour as his 'Renaissance lot' because of the details of French Renaissance architecture that caught his eye, but the etchings were never published as a set. Relatively few impressions were printed, the first of them sent to the Fine Art Society on 27 March 1889.


Courtyard, Rue P. L. Courier, Tours

Object Number P.87-1959

Etching printed on Dutch(?) 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, 1888

After marrying Beatrice Godwin on 11 August 1888, Whistler set off on his honeymoon to the chateaux of the Loire and the towns of Touraine, taking with him 34 prepared plates. In most of the etchings that he made during the trip, he avoided the obvious tourist sites, and concentrated on picturesque settings rather than figures, much as he had done in Venice, London and Brussels. This is one of six etchings that he made in Tours. The relatively anonymous courtyard, enlivened by an interesting architectural feature, is typical of the subjects that Whistler favoured on this trip.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.87-1959




Mairie, Loches

Object Number P.88-1959

Etching printed on Dutch(?) 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, 1888

On his honeymoon tour to the Loire and Touraine in the autumn of 1888, Whistler made his largest group of etchings at Loches, with a total of eleven plates. He generally referred to the etchings of this tour as his 'Renaissance lot' because of the details of French Renaissance architecture that caught his eye. The subjects were generally portrayed as though glimpsed down backstreets and alleys, conjuring the sense of a traveller discovering a new town, or an artist discovering the picturesque away from standard tourist views. The etchings were not published as a set. Relatively few impressions were printed, the first of them sent to the Fine Art Society on 27 March 1889. The views of Loches proved the most popular.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.88-1959



Hôtel de Ville, Loches

Object Number P.89-1959

Etching printed on Dutch 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, 1888

This shows one of the more well known landmarks of Renaissance architecture among the plates made on Whistler's honeymoon tour of the Touraine in the autumn of 1888. The edifice housing the Hôtel de Ville was built in 1535-43 beside a medieval gate (Porte de Picois). A few years earlier Henry James had written in his book, A Little Tour in France (1884): 'The little streets of Loches wander crookedly down the hill, and are full of charming pictorial "bits": an old town-gate, passing under a mediaeval tower, which is ornamented by Gothic windows and the empty niches of statues; a meagre but delicate hotel de ville, of the Renaissance, nestling close beside it.'

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.89-1959



Clock-Tower, Amboise

Object Number P.90-1959

Etching printed on Dutch(?) 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, 1888

Like Hôtel de Ville, Loches above, this shows one of the more well-known landmarks of Renaissance architecture among the plates made on Whistler's honeymoon tour of the Loire in the autumn of 1888. But even here, Whistler chose to dwell on the more commonplace buildings in the foreground rather than the clock-tower. The other plate he made in Amboise showed the famous chateau of François I, but again relegated to the distance.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.90-1959





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