An original lithograph, printed in black ink on wove paper. The work is signed on the stone with the artist’s butterfly monogram at the center left.
This is a fine impression of Spink’s only state from the edition of somewhere between 500 and 1000 issued in the periodical, The Whirlwind, 2, no. 20, November 15, 1890, bearing the printed legend at the upper right sheet edge “Presented with THE WIRLWIND, Nov. 15, 1890” (apart from 8 impressions printed by Way prior to the published edition, and a posthumous edition of 51 printed by Goulding on March 29, 1904). Published by The Whirlwind, London; printed by Way.
Smithies and forges fascinated Whistler throughout his career, and are frequent subjects in both his etchings and his lithographs. “The Tyresmith,” his second lithograph dealing with the theme, depicts the interior of a wheel-wright’s workshop in Chelsea. It was one of five lithographs drawn and printed in October of 1890. According to an annotation in the printer T.R. Way’s hand on an impression in the British Museum, London, the two smiths working at an anvil are “Mending the Hoop.” The Way atelier printed a large edition for the November 15, 1890, issue of The Whirlwind. It was the second of three lithographs Whistler contributed to the journal, and it appeared opposite a sonnet by Stéphane Mallarmé.