Steel anvil with removable wood handle, formerly owned by Whistler

Historical period(s)
mid 19th century
Steel, wood
H x W: 3.8 x 8.9 cm (1 1/2 x 3 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Tool and Equipment


Provenance research underway.

Freer purchased this anvil and a hammer from the etcher Otto Bacher in 1908. Bacher had worked with Whistler in Venice in 1879-80, and told Freer that the tools had previously belonged to Whistler. Whistler would have used them to remove lines from plates that had already been etched. To do this, he would have placed his plate upside down on the anvil and hammered the lines out from the back. After beating out the unwanted lines, Whistler would have had to repolish the front of the plate before adding new lines to it.  

Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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