The Baby, Gray's Inn

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 288
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 100 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.298; M.295
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


It was not published. However, it forms one of Whistler's unpublished but clearly defined 'Grey's Inn Set'.


It was rare and very little known. The print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York exhibited an impression in 1898 and in 1903. 9

After Whistler's death the Grolier Club showed one - probably one of those already exhibited at Wunderlich's - in New York in 1904. 10

9: New York 1898 (cat. no. 202); New York 1903b (cat. no. 207).

10: New York 1904a (cat. no. 310).


'The Babies' was sold by Whistler on 21 December 1887 to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), for £5.5.0. 11 The price seems to have been variable. The Fine Art Society in London bought an impression of 'Babies' in 1893 for £3.3.0. 12 It may be that these refer to two different etchings, ot that the original price was too high.

In May 1888 Wunderlich's in New York priced an impression of 'The Baby - Gray's Inn' at £5.5.0 and forwarded it to Ross Revillon Winans (1850-1912). In 1896 they recorded that they had sold one 'Baby - Grays Inn' for £4.4.0 and in 1897, stated that they had one 'on hand', valued at £3.3.0. It is not entirely clear whether they are talking about one or three impressions, but the prices suggest it was not selling very well. 13

11: GUW #13017.

12: 18 April 1893, E.G. Brown to Whistler, GUW #01259.

13: Wunderlich's to Whistler, 3 May 1888, GUW #07158; 24 September 1897, #07287.

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought the only known impression in July 1903 from Obach & Co. in London (Graphic with a link to impression #K2980102).