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Whistler's watermarks

Introduction | Watermark and countermark library | Dynasts | Whistler's papers

 

 

Arms of Burgundy watermark

Arms of Burgundy

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.

 

 

 

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Beehive watermark

Beehive

The 'beehive' watermark originated with a family of Dutch papermakersby the name of Honig [honey], who owned mills in Zaandyk (1675–1902). The coat of arms of the Honig family (incorporating the beehive motif) became a watermark that was copied extensively throughout the Netherlands and abroad in places such as Russia and Scandinavia.

 

 

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Bouchet watermark

Bibi the Lark and her countermark

The countermark in Bibi Lalouette is the name ‘J Bouchet’, revealed when the print is viewed by transmitted light to lie, in cursive script, along the subject’s thigh.

 

 

 

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Bishop’s Crosier watermark

Bishop’s crosier

The 'Bishop’s crosier' appears to be one of the oldest watermarks yet found in the Whistler collection at the National Gallery of Australia, with a probable date in the 16th century.


 

 

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Bishop’s Crosier watermark The Cantons of the Helvetian confederation

Bishop’s crosier
The Cantons of the Helvetian confederation

An ornate version of the 'Bishop’s crosier' watermark presents the staff surrounded by the escutcheons of the 12 Swiss cantons which were the foundation members of the Helvetian Confederation

 

 

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De Erven de Blauw countermark

De Erven de Blauw countermark

The countermark in the paper of the drypoint The Forge 1871 belongs to the firm De Erven de Blauw c.1822. De Erven de Blauw derives from an important family of Dutch papermakers who began making paper in 1621.

 

 


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Foolscap watermark

Foolscap

The Foolscap watermark was used frequently by European papermakers from Britain to Russia. In our day the name might conjure up a mental picture of a schoolboy in a dunce’s cap banished to a corner of the schoolroom; but this commonly-used watermark displayed a creature foreign to our times - the clown, fool or jester.  (Shakespeare uses the three terms synonymously). 


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Fortune Figure watermark

Fortune figure

After the visual extravaganzas of the 'Strasburg lily' and 'Beehive' watermarks, it is a relief to contemplate the graphic simplicity of the 'Fortune figure' (aka Fortuna and Fortune).

 

 


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Pro Patria watermark

Pro Patria

There are two kinds of Pro Patria watermark: the ‘Britannia’ form used by continental papermakers producing papers for the British market; and the ’Maid of Dort’ form (detail shown), produced for general sale.

 

 


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Lion Rampant watermark

Lion Rampart

Two works in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection of Whistler prints show three watermark images of a lion rampant on a shield flanked by the letters M and C in Gothic script and a countermark MDCCCXXVIII (1828): the etching Millbank and the lithograph Nursemaids: Les Bonnes du Luxembourg. The latteris unusualin that it incorporates two lion rampant watermarks, one a mirror image of the other.


 

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../whistler/watermarks/details/Strasburg.cfm

Strasburg lily

There are many variations of the 'Strasburg lily' watermark. It has also been known, more prosaically, as the Fleur-de-Lis on a Crowned Shield, or simply as the Fleur-de-Lis, (a term derived from the central element of the design).

 

 


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Whatman watermarks

Whatman

Whatman paper is considered to be one of the finest English handmade papers of the 18th century. The elder James Whatman began to produce good quality white paper at his famous mill established in Kent around 1740.

 


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