|Size:||152 x 226 mm|
|No. of States:||1|
|Catalogues:||K.80; M.81; T.63; W.74|
|Impressions taken from this plate (4)|
'Ratcliffe Highway' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 1
'Heads. Sailor’s dance house' (1881, Union League Club). 2
'Ratcliffe Highway' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 3
'Heads' could be confused with the title for other etchings, so 'Ratcliffe Highway' is the preferred title.
4: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 74).
5: 20 May 1857, in Acton, Prostitution, Considered in its Moral, Social and Sanitary Aspects, 2nd edition, 1870; in The Victorian Dictionary, ed. Lee Jackson, at http://www.victorianlondon.org (accessed 2008).
Ratcliffe Highway, running from East Smithfield to Shadwell High Street, in the parish of Stepney in London, was a notoriously squalid slum, full of brothels, dance halls, gin-houses and seedy lodging houses. It was north of the waterfront in Wapping where Whistler worked at several etchings and paintings from 1859 on, such as Rotherhithe 070. The area is described unfavourably by Watts Philips:
6: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 63).