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Prints by friends and followers

Whistler attracted a number of pupils and followers, both amateur and professional, a number of whom became significant printmakers in their own right. Mortimer Menpes and Walter Sickert absorbed Whistler's methods while helping with the printing of the 'Second Venice Set'. As in so many other cases, Whistler later fell out with both of them. Théodore Roussel seems to have been more subservient: out of respect he always removed his hat in Whistler's presence.

Edwin Edwards

Molesey Lock (Whistler on the gate)

Object Number P.934-R

Etching, 1861

Edwards was a lawyer who later turned to art and music. He went to drawing classes and through a fellow student was introduced to Whistler, Legros, Fantin-Latour and Haden. Legros taught him how to etch in the winter of 1860-61 and he installed a press at his house in Sunbury, where his wife Ruth became skilled at printing. During the 1860s and 70s their home was a meeting place for French and British painters and etchers. This print was made when Edwards, Whistler, Fantin-Latour and Haden made an etching trip along the Thames in August 1861. Whistler etched The Thames (Sketching No. 1) on the same occasion.

Given by Sir Herbert Thompson 1920


Walter Sickert

'The Little Lagoon' after Whistler

Object Number P.123-1955 Object Number P.122-1955

Etching and drypoint, two impressions, c.1884

Sickert entered Whistler's studio in 1882, and with his fellow pupil Mortimer Menpes he helped Whistler to print his Venetian etchings. These two impressions of his copy after Whistler's etching, The Little Lagoon (published in 'The First Venice Set'), show Sickert using the printing effects that Whistler taught him. The different lighting effects are created by varying the areas of ink left on the surface of the plate when wiping it prior to printing. The example on the left is printed on machine made wove paper, while the one on the right is printed on 'antique' Dutch laid paper, which Whistler preferred for its colour.

Bequeathed by J. W. Freshfield 1955

P.122-1955 P.123-1955

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Mortimer Menpes

Studies of James McNeill Whistler

Object Number P.29-1999

Drypoint printed on 'old' wove paper, c.1886

The Australian Menpes met Whistler in November 1880 after the latter's return from Venice, and offered to help with the printing of his Venetian etchings. Whistler took him on as assistant, and frequently sent him on hunts for bits of old paper, such as the paper this drypoint is printed on. Although they fell out in 1888, Menpes was one of the few mourners at Whistler's funeral. He made several drypoint studies of Whistler.

At the top is also a sketch of one of Menpes' children (see The Menpes Children).

Bought from the University Purchase Fund, 1999


Théodore Roussel

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea

Object Number P.1989-R

Etching on 'antique' Dutch(?) laid paper, c.1888-9

The French artist Roussel settled in Chelsea, and in 1885 became a follower of Whistler (out of respect he always went bareheaded in Whistler's presence). Roussel's first original etchings featured local streets and shops in the manner of Whistler's prints of Chelsea in the 1880s. This view shows (in reverse) the corner of Beaufort Street and Cheyne Walk. To the right of the bay-fronted house is Lindsey House, where Whistler lived between 1866 and 1878. This is one of two prints in the Fitzwilliam dedicated by Roussel to Thomas Nelson MacLean, the sculptor whose Whistler prints also came to the Museum via his widow Katharine Anne Riches (see below).

Given by Mrs T. H. Riches 1923


Théodore Roussel

The Street, Chelsea Embankment

Object Number P.1990-R

Etching on Dutch 'antique' laid paper, c.1888-9

Very much in the spirit of Whistler's studies of Chelsea shop fronts in the 1880s (The Barber's Shop and Rag-Shop, Milman's Row), this view shows the row between Danvers and Beaufort streets which was demolished in 1889 in connection with the construction of the new Battersea Bridge.

The paper (with Pro Patria watermark) used for this impression is the same type as collected and used by Whistler around this date to print Balcony, Amsterdam.

Like Cheyne Walk (above), this impression is dedicated by Roussel to Thomas Nelson MacLean, the sculptor whose Whistler prints also came to the Museum via his widow Katharine Anne Riches.

Given by Mrs T. H. Riches 1923


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