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Whistler's watermarks

Arms of Burgundy watermark

 

This partial watermark, revealed under transmitted light was found in the paper of The little pool, an etching published in 1871.The lower half of the watermark shows two prancing lions with the letters P and G, most likely the papermaker's initials.

image: Whistler 'The little pool' 1861 intaglio print Collection of the National Gallery of Australia 'The little pool' 1861 intaglio print Collection of the National Gallery of Australia more detail

A similar watermark is identified by Churchill in Watermarks in paper in Holland, England, France, etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries and their interconnection as an 'Arms of Burgundy' watermark.1

This variation of the 'Arms of Burgundy' dates back to the early 17th century. Although similar versions appear in numerous publications very little has been documented on its origin and history.

Similar watermarks in relatively large sheets of paper have been found by the Institute for advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia (and can be viewed at iath.virginia.edu/gants/wm3-folio.html).

The paper on which The little pool was printed has been torn down to a smaller sheet, leaving a modest margin around the image. Fibre analysis shows that the paper is made of almost pure linen and contains visible shives (tiny wood fragments and other foreign material) typically caused by wooden stampers – which were out of use by the 19th century except in parts of France.

Kassandra Coghlan and Bill Hamilton
1 Churchill, WA, Watermarks in paper in Holland, England, France etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries and their interconnection, 1935 authorised reprint Amsterdam: B DeGraaf, 1985, p.229.

 

image: The Arms of Burgundy watermark