James McNeill Whistler. Dipping the Flag.


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James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1834-1903.

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Dipping the Flag. 1877. Etching and drypoint. Kennedy 325; Glasgow 308.iii(?)/iv. 3 1/8 x 6 5/8 (sheet 8 1/2 x 13 1/4). Dipping the Flag formed part of the 'Jubilee' alternatively 'Naval Review' set. Unique proof printed in red brown ink with tonal wiping on sturdy ivory paper. Signed with the butterfly in pencil. Price upon request. Housed in an archival French mat and a 13 x 17-inch reproduction gold leaf Whistler style frame. $13,500.

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According to the Glasgow online catalogue: The fiftieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was celebrated in 1887. Jubilee celebrations included a Naval Review at Spithead on 23 July. Whistler as President of the Society of British Artists was invited to attend. During the day he made twelve etchings, as well as a watercolour and pencil sketches. They were not published by a print dealer but were sold or given by the artist as a set.

It included views of the ports (i.e. Tilbury [ Glasgow 312]) and of the fleet (i.e. Troopships [Glasgow 307]) and spectators (i.e. The Visitors' Boat [Glasgow 303]). The complete set comprises: Tilbury [Glasgow 312], The Fleet: Monitors [Glasgow 306], Troopships [Glasgow 307], The Visitors' Boat [Glasgow 303], The Turret Ship [Glasgow 305], Dry Docks, Southampton [Glasgow 302], Children, Portsmouth [Glasgow 301], Bunting [Glasgow 304], Dipping the Flag [Glasgow 308], Her Majesty's Fleet: Evening [Glasgow Glasgow 310], Return to Tilbury [Glasgow 311], and The Landing Stage, Cowes [Glasgow 309].

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Dipping the flag was a sign of respect and symbol of obedience to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain. Dipping the flag involved lowering the flag to half-mast and back.

The location is at sea off Spithead on the south coast of England. The Times gave a full account of the Naval Review in the Solent. 5 Flags also decked the ships in the Review as a sign of general celebration, and this is seen in other Naval Review etchings, Bunting Glasgow 304 and Her Majesty's Fleet: Evening Glasgow 310.

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Please click on the link to the Glasgow online catalogue raisonné Dipping the Flag.

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