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

Venetian Water Carrier

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 197
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: drypoint
Size: 200 x 126 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.232; M.229
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)


figure, girl, worker.


Whistler's original title is not known. Variations in punctuation are as follows:

'Venetian Water-Carrier' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 1
'Venetian Water Carrier' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2

Mansfield's version, 'Venetian Water-Carrier' is preferred.

1: Mansfield 1909[more], cat. no. 229.

2: Kennedy 1910[more], cat. no. 232.


A young girl stands, walking forward, and looking down. She has very long hair and wears a long scarf about her shoulders. She carries a heavy bag or bucket in both hands: they look more like rectangular bags or baskets than round pails.


Not identified. This is the only image of a single figure etched by Whistler in Venice. It is possible that the identification of the girl as a water-carrier is incorrect, and she is just shopping. Whistler also etched water-carriers in the background of The Beggars 190. The women of Venice carried water in buckets strung from poles on their shoulders, as in the two woman at the far left of the passageway in The Beggars 190, reproduced below.
Etching: K1940205