As with other intaglio prints never meant for publication, Leaving the Bath demonstrates the experimental nature of Degas' printmaking.
The twenty-two separate states which exist of this print indicate that the overriding interest on the artist's part was technique rather than the production of a publishable image. In this case, moreover, the subject's intimate nature would have meant that it could not be issued in a conventional manner.
The experimental nature of the technique of this print is discussed in a letter from Degas to Alexis Rouart, original owner of many prints in the Warrington collection:
"My dear friend: It was only yesterday that I had this little attempt with carbon crayon printed. You will see what a pretty grey it is. One should have emery pencils. Do give me an idea how to make them myself...."
Rouart recalled that Degas, staying one night at the collector's home, called in the morning for a copper plate on which the first state of the subject was sketched. Rouart owned two early impressions.
It should be noted that the discussion of this impression and the illustration which appears in Reed and Shapiro do not correspond to the actual object which has a richness of tone and is comparable to other examples in strength of impression.