Little Greengrocer's Shop, Chelsea

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 264
Date: 1886
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 71 x 103 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.259; M.255; W.210
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


Fruit-Shop was never published.


It was first exhibited at the Hogarth Club in London in 1887. 14 Later, it was shown in New York by H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 and 1903, and in London by Obach & Co. in 1903. An impression was lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) to the Caxton Club exhibition in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590202). 15

After Whistler's death an impression was shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and another was lent by King Edward VII to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590z01). 16

14: London Hogarth 1887; see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

15: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. E182).

16: New York 1904a (cat. no. 219); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 210).


The first recorded sale was on 1 November 1886 when Whistler sold two 'Green Grocers' at £3.3.0 each to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832). 17 Messrs Dowdeswell, after consulting the newly published catalogue by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), requested impressions of a number of etchings including this one in February 1887. 18 However, although Whistler did print it, it is not entirely clear if they actually bought this etching as a result.

An impression of 'Little Green Grocers Shop - Chelsea' was bought by H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York on 3 May 1888 for £6.6.0, which was double the price paid by McLean two years earlier, but there is no explanation of this - possibly it was an early proof. In the following year they recorded the purchase of another 'Little greengrocers shop' for £4.4.0 (this was including their discount). 19

17: GUW #13010.

18: Dowdeswell's to Whistler, 4 February 1887, GUW #00888.

19: 3 May 1888, GUW #07158 and #13051; 24 March 1899, #07305.

Early collectors included Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), bought from F. Keppel & Co. in 1902 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590203); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590202); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590101); and Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590204). An impression from the Royal Collection was sold soon after the Whistler Memorial Exhibition of 1905 through Messrs Agnew's and Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), to first Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) and then Charles C. Cunningham (1910-1979), arriving in due course at the National Gallery of Australia (Graphic with a link to impression #K2590z01).