Home > The Catalogue > Browse > Subjects > Etchings > Etching

The Spanish Balcony: Pigeons

Impression: Whistler Etchings Project
Whistler Etchings Project
Number: 407
Date: 1888
Medium: etching
Size: 241 x 159 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.-; M.-; T.-; W.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)


balcony, bird, building, café, people.


No impressions of this etching have been located, and Whistler's original title is not known with certainty, but the recorded title is probably correct:

'The Spanish Balcony: Pigeons' (1888/1895, possibly Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 1

This title may have been written on the copper plate at Whistler's request by his wife or one of his sisters-in-law, such as Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958). In the current state of the copper plate is is quite hard to make out the pigeons!

1: Inscribed on verso of copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.


A deep balcony with a sloping roof extends round the corner of the courtyard of a two-storey house. There are women and children in a window at top right, and on the balcony to right of centre. In front of the balcony, at right, a woman is standing, possibly feeding pigeons. Several people are sitting, possibly in an outdoor cafe, at left.


Probably done in the Loire valley, in Loches, Tours or Bourges. Whistler did not visit Spain at this time, but the style of balcony may have led to the title.