Little Court

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 244
Date: 1880/1881
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 127 x 176 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 22
Catalogues: K.236; M.232; W.173
Impressions taken from this plate  (22)


buckets, cart, child, courtyard, people, shop.


There have been few variations in the title:

'Little Court' (1883, F.A.S.). 1
'Little Court' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2
'Little Court' (1890/1891, Whistler). 3
'Little Court' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 4
'Petite Court. Drury Lane. - (Little Court. Drury Lane)' (1905, Paris). 5
'The Little Court, Drury Lane' (1906, Rotterdam). 6

The original published title 'Little Court' has been generally accepted. The introduction of 'Drury Lane' may have been geographically accurate but was not used by Whistler himself and is crossed out in the list compiled by his wife.

1: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 21).

2: Wedmore 1886 A, cat. no. 173.

3: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

4: 'Courtyard Drury Lane' crossed out, list, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

5: Paris Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 371).

6: Rotterdam 1906 (cat. no. 54).


At the farther side of a courtyard is a building with a broad open doorway, leading into a shadowed interior; above the doorway is a row of tall sash windows. To left of the open door is an alley leading to a court or narrow street with two small adjoining open doorways. In the broad doorway one man is seated and there are several people standing; to right is a panelled wall, or closed wooden shutters. A small wooden cart stands in front, with children seated on it. In the centre a boy is sweeping the courtyard. There are buildings at each side of the court. A low building with wide open doors is at right, with a couple of people outside it. There is a curved shop-front on a street corner at left, with buckets and brushes hung over the windows, large jars on the first floor, and miscellaneous goods piled in the street.


A London scene; according to Wedmore, 'The court is somewhere out of Drury Lane.' 7 Whistler also etched Drury Lane [243] and Bird Shop - Seven Dials [384] in the area.

7: Wedmore 1886 A, cat. no. 173.