Cameo, No. 1 (Mother and Child)

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 459
Date: 1891
Medium: etching
Size: 178 x 128 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 15
Catalogues: K.347; M.333; W.224
Impressions taken from this plate  (15)


baby, child, costume, dress, model, mother, woman.


Variations on the title are as follows:

'Little Edith since called "Cameo No. 1"' (1891, Whistler). 2
'Mother and Child, Cameo, No. 1' (1898, Wunderlich's). 3
'Cameo, No. 1' (1899, ISSPG). 4
'Mother and Child' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'Cameo: Number One' (1903, Obach's). 6
'Cameo, No. 1' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
'Cameo, No. 1 (Mother and Child)' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

'Cameo, No. 1' is the accepted title, based on Whistler's original title, with added punctuation.

2: Whistler to E.G. Deprez, 21 January-27 June 1891, GUW #13070.

3: New York 1898 (cat. no. 288).

4: London ISSPG 1899 (cat. no. 237).

5: Wedmore 1899 (cat. no. 224).

6: London Obach 1903 (cat. no. 246).

7: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 333).

8: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 347).


A young woman sits, bending forward to the right, gazing into the face of a reclining child. She wears thin drapery gathered in at the neck and waist, revealing much of her leg and knee. She has a short fringe, and her hair is gathered up under a scarf knotted at the back of her head. The child gazes at the viewer.


Possibly Rose Amy Pettigrew (b. 1872) with her baby niece, Edith. Whistler wrote in one letter that the subject was 'Little Edith since called "Cameo No. 1"'. 9 The same sitter appears in Cameo, No. 2 [460] and probably in such lithographs as Mother and Child, No. 4 [c054], reproduced below.

9: Whistler to E. G. Deprez, 21 January to 27 June 1891, GUW #13070.

Comparative image
Mother and Child, No. 4 [c054], lithograph, 1891/95,
Freer Gallery of Art.


The robe appears to be a semi-classical design based on Roman dress. The robe, or similar versions of the robe, appears in several drawings, as well as in the other 'Cameo' (Cameo, No. 2 [460]). The composition, title and dress have classical associations. Whistler may have been intending to create images that were not constrained by any one period or country. Thus in some works he derived inspiration from eastern and western art; in others, from contemporary and classical art.