Doorway, Gray's Inn

Impression: Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
Number: 289
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 96 x 134 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.300; M.294
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


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 However, it forms one of Whistler's unpublished but clearly defined 'Grey's Inn Set'.


It was only exhibited once in Whistler's lifetime, an impression being lent by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3000102). 6

6: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 242).


The etching is very rare. Very few impressions were sold by Whistler. An impression was apparently sold to the Fine Art Society, London, in late October 1887 or 1888 for £10.10.0. 7 This was very expensive for a fairly minimal etching, but it was known to be rare and the subject, being a recogniseable place, with lively figures, was appealing.

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), bought an impression of the first state in 1888 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3000102). This was probably the same as that sold by Whistler to Wunderlich's of New York on 3 May 1888 for £10.10.0, less 20% discount. 8 Wunderlich's bought another of unspecified state on 11 April 1889 for £8.8.0, and possibly another impression in 1900 for £6.6.0 (referred to as 'Children playing (Gray's Inn Doorway)'. 9

In 1910 Mansfield, who only recorded one state of the etching, noted that he knew of three impressions, in his own collection (Graphic with a link to impression #K3000201) and those of John Caldwell (fl. 1887-1907) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3000101) and Freer.

7: GUW #01216.

8: Wunderlich 1888 Stock book, no. a14411, sold in 1888 to client '462'; GUW #13051, #13644.

9: Report of sales to date for account, GUW #07322, #13051.