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The Beggars

Whistler, James Abbott McNeill (printmaker)

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The Beggars (assigned title)


Whistler, James Abbott McNeill (printmaker) American artist, 1834-1903








Technique Description

printed with surface tone in brown ink


paper (support)
brown ink (medium)


plate height: 305 mm
plate width: 208 mm
sheet height: 308 mm
sheet width: 211 mm


1879 to 1880


bought: 2008
Kennedy Galleries, New York, probably around 1920 (stock number a65623 inscribed in graphite on the verso; date deduced from comparison with stock numbers on other prints with an established provenance); P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (stock number c21103 inscribed in graphite on the verso); Kennedy Galleries, New York, from whom bought c.1970-3 by a private collector in the United States; by whom consigned to Sotheby’s, New York, 29 October 2004 lot 85 ($13,200); bought through an American dealer for a private collector in the United States, by whom consigned to C. G. Boerner 2007.

Bought from the Gow Fund with the help of the Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund


  1. Position: lower margin
    Type: monogram
    Method: graphite
    Description: Whistler’s butterfly monogram and imp. (indicating that Whistler printed the impression himself)
  2. Position: verso
    Type: inscription
    Method: graphite
    Content: framed // a65623 // c21103 [P. & D. Colnaghi stock number] / ixx-N // 203 [enclosed in C or L].
    Description: a65623 is the Kennedy Galleries stock number, c21103 is the P. & D. Colnaghi stock number

Other Notes

From ‘Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice’, the series of twelve prints known as the ‘First Venice Set’, first etched in 1879-80 and published by The Fine Art Society. This was the most prominent figure subject in the ‘First Venice Set’. The plate went through various states as he adjusted the arrangement of beggars, boatman and water-carriers in the dark passageway leading from the small, enclosed Corte de la Carozze to the brightly lit Campo Santa Margarita in Dorsoduro.

For references see also Katharine A. Lochnan, The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven/London 1984, no. 192; Alastair Grieve, ‘The Sites of Whistler’s Venice Etchings’, Print Quarterly, vol. XIII, March 1996, pp. 22-5; C. G. Boerner in collaboration with Harris Schrank Fine prints, James McNeill Whistler, Etchings and Lithographs, New York 2007, no. 23.

Standard print ref/s

Kennedy 194 VII/IX
Kennedy, Edward G.
(1978) The etched work of Whistler , San Francisco : Alan Wofsy Fine Arts

Accession Number

P.3-2008 (Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(Reference Number: 161016; Input Date: 2008-04-03 / Last Edit: 2011-07-22)

Related Object

P.2-2008 - The Doorway

Related Image/s

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