Home > The Catalogue > Browse > Etching

The Barber's Shop, Chelsea

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 263
Date: 1886
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 166 x 242 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 11
Catalogues: K.271; M.268; W.229
Impressions taken from this plate  (11)


barber, butcher, children, , people, shop, streetscape, theatre.


Variations in the title are as follows:

'The Barber's Shop - Chelsea' (1888, Whistler). 2
'Barber's Shop' (1888, Whistler). 3
'The Barber's Shop, Chelsea' (1889, Exposition Universelle). 4
'Barbers Shop (The) - Chelsea' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'The Barber's' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 6
'The Barber's Shop' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
'The Barber's Shop, Chelsea' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

'The Barber's Shop, Chelsea' is the preferred title, based on Whistler's original title, and confirmed by later cataloguers.

2: Whistler to R. F. Knoedler, 27 July 1888, GUW #13660.

3: Whistler to Dowdeswell's, 17 November 1888, GUW #13028.

4: Paris Exp. Univ. 1889 (cat. no. 419)

5: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

6: Wedmore 1899 (cat. no. 229).

7: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 268).

8: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 271).


The foreground - a road - is empty but in the middle distance is a row of shops, drawn parallel to the plate edge. Two little girls stand at the extreme left, on the pavement. Behind them, at left, is a shop with small-paned windows containing the sign, 'HAIR CUTTING & SHAVING', and a closed door with more signs, 'CUT / 3', 'HAIR / CUT / 2', while outside, a newspaper placard reads 'FRED CARLOS'. To right of this is another shop with a large shop-window showing shelves of miscellaneous goods, with a small plaque above the window, and a smaller window above it on the first floor. The shop door is open, and in front of it is a lamp post. Next, to right of centre, is a wide, dark passageway with a slightly arched entrance, with several women and a child emerging from it; above it is a window with flower pots on the sill. At far right is another shop with a man standing in the open doorway, and boots hanging from the door-frame above him.


The site of the etching has not been identified, although it is certainly in London. A similar subject appears in a lithograph, The Barber's Shop in the Mews [c139], which was drawn in Avery Row, Bond Street in 1896.


Fred Carlos was an actor and singer active in the 1880s at the Royal Forrester's Music Hall. He played Sloper Crusoe in a production of Robinson Crusoe at the Grand Theatre in December 1886, and was, according to The Times, 'most amusing'. 9

9: The Times, 28 December 1886, p. 5; for Carlos in 1883 see / ArchivePressText2006 / 20060812.html (accessed 2009).