Later London Street Scenes

Whistler's late etching style was first developed in the mid-1880s on the streets in Chelsea, where he lived at a series of addresses until leaving London for Paris in 1892. Many of the prints show shop fronts and facades, with figures silhouetted in doorways and arches, recalling the figure subjects among Whistler's Venice etchings.

Whistler also ventured further afield, especially to the used clothing district around Houndsditch in the East End of London. He occasionally referred to the group of prints he made in the East End at this time as his 'East London Set', although they were never formally published as such.

The Barber's Shop

Image["Object Number P.84-1959"]

Etching printed on Dutch 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, c.1887

After working on his Venice etchings, Whistler looked for subjects in the streets of Chelsea, where he lived at a series of addresses until leaving London for Paris in 1892. The three prints on this page are typical of Whistler's London etchings of the 1880s: small in scale, describing light and shade with an economy of line, and sketched as though the plate was a sketchbook page. Many of the prints show shop fronts and facades, with figures silhouetted in doorways and arches, recalling the figure subjects among Whistler's Venice etchings.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.84-1959


Rag-Shop, Milman's Row

Image["Object Number P.83-1959"]

Etching printed on Dutch(?) 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, c.1887

One of the etchings of shops and street scenes in Chelsea made in the 1880s. Milman's Row (now Milman's Street) led from the King's Road to the river, just along from Whistler's former house in Lindsey Row. Some of Whistler's earliest figure etchings of 1858 had been of people involved in the rag trade (see The Old Rag Gatherer and The Rag Gatherers), but the emphasis here is much more on the picturesque possibilities of the setting (see also Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch, No. 1 below). Whistler's early titles for this print probably included 'The Steps, Milman's Row'. He also made a drawing, a lithograph and two smaller etchings of the same subject, one of the latter featuring the adjacent furniture shop in more detail. Each was observed independently from life, and evidently sketched on the spot.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.83-1959


Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch, No. 1

Image["Object Number P.85-1959"]

Etching printed on Dutch 'antique' laid paper trimmed by the artist, c.1887

In addition to exploring the picturesque possibilities of the streets of Chelsea, Whistler ventured further afield, especially to the used clothing district around Houndsditch in the East End of London. He occasionally referred to the group of prints he made in the East End at this time as his 'East London Set', although they were never formally published as such This is one of two plates showing buildings in which old garments were bought and sold. They were probably made at Phil's Buildings, where hundreds of dealers gathered every afternoon in search of cast-off clothes to sell.

Bequeathed by G. J. F. Knowles 1959

P.85-1959

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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Later London street scenes c.1887

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