The Little Hat

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 366
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 100 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 8
Catalogues: K.335; M.331
Impressions taken from this plate  (8)


The plate for The Little Hat was executed primarily in etching, but Whistler added two series of parallel diagonal drypoint lines to the right of the figure's head and neck, to fill in some gaps in the shading. Because the plate was so lightly etched, it is very difficult to distinguish the drypoint lines without considerable magnification, and for all intents and purposes, it is an etching.
The figure was drawn with sparing lines, emerging from an unevenly shaded background, made up of patches of shading and cross-hatching - closely worked around the head and hat, and more widely spaced in the background.


There was only a small print-run of The Little Hat. On 18 July 1889 a list of proofs in stock in Whistler's studio included 'The Hat 5' . 8 Some impressions can be dated by the pencil signature on the tab to 1887 or 1888 (i.e. Graphic with a link to impression #K3350102).

8: List, GUW #13235.

All impressions look rather pale, mainly because the lines are so lightly etched. Despite the limited numbers, they were printed in a range of ink colours and paper types, including rather pale black ink on ivory laid paper (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350102); black on ivory laid watermarked 'PRO PATRIA' paper (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350105); brown ink on ivory laid paper from a book (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350103); grey/brown ink on ivory laid (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350104); and dark brown ink on cream laid paper (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350108). Most are trimmed to the platemark and signed on the tab with a butterfly and 'imp.' to show that Whistler printed them, but two remaining in the artist's estate were trimmed but not signed (Graphic with a link to impression #K3350104, Graphic with a link to impression #K3350106).