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The Bonnet-Shop

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 254
Date: 1886/1888
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 99 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.253; M.249
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)


bonnet, boots, children, clothing, door, dress, hat, shop, shop-front, steps, woman standing.


The title remained consistent, the only decision being whether to add 'The' or punctuation, as in these examples:

'Bonnet Shop' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'Bonnet Shop' (1900, Caxton Club). 3
'The Bonnet-Shop' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4

'Bonnet Shop' appears to be the title used most by Whistler.

2: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.

3: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. E252).

4: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 249).


In the middle, two or three steps lead up to a small shop with an open door. A woman wearing a dark dress and light bonnet ornamented with a feather is standing in the shadows of the interior, looking to right. In the shop window at left are bonnets and hats on stands, and above them, a sign reading ' CHEAP BOOTS' over what looks rather like a Union Jack with a central circle. In the window to right and on the door frame hang numerous small (and unidentifiable) goods. In front of the shop at right are two children, the outline of their bodies rather muddled up with the shop.


It was probably drawn in London, possibly in Chelsea or in the East End.


It is not known why Whistler printed so few impressions - indeed perhaps only the one impression (). He certainly etched a lot of local shops at this time, such as The Rag Shop, Milman's Row 290, J.H. Woods' Fruit Shop, Chelsea 327, Furniture Shop 278, as well as subjects connected with dress such as The Seamstress 253, Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch. No. 1 358 and The Little Hat 366. There are also records of what may have been a similar subject, but considerably larger, Boot Shop, Ratcliffe Highway 379.