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Little Maunder's

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
(46903)
Number: 273
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 83 x 52 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.279; M.274
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)

KEYWORD

building, child, façade, fish shop, lamp, woman, shop-front, street.

TITLE

There are several minor variations in title, as follows:


'Little Chelsea Fish shop' (1887, Whistler). 2
'Maunders' (1887/1888, Whistler). 3
'Little Maunders' (1889, Whistler). 4
'Little Maunder’s' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5
'Gable - Little Maunders' (1903, Wunderlich's) 6
'Little Maunder's Fish Shop. Chelsea' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 7
'Little Maunder's' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 8


Thus Whistler called it by three different titles, but since the third of these was picked up by later cataloguers, as 'Little Maunder’s', this has become the preferred title.

2: Whistler to Dowdeswell's, 27 July 1887, GUW #08677.

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

4: List, 18 July 1889, GUW #13235.

5: Kennedy 1902 [more] (cat. no. 299).

6: Wunderlich's stock no. 'a 38268'.

7: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

8: Mansfield 1909 [more] (cat. no. 274).

DESCRIPTION

The gabled front of a three-storey house, with a shop-window and open door sheltered by an awning to left and a door opening upon the pavement to right, two windows on the first storey and an attic window in the gable. To right of the shop is a lamp-post, standing in front of a building that is set back from the street, which is barely indicated. On the pavement in front of the two doorways are a woman and a child.

SITE

Mrs Elizabeth Maunder's fish-shop was at 72 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London. It was in a row of houses that appear in Whistler's oil painting Street in Old Chelsea y249, painted in the early 1880s, where the fish-shop, with its light-coloured plastered walls and steep pitched roof, is just to left of centre. This row also appears in Fish-Shop, Chelsea 267.
Etching: c_K279_04
Maunder's Fish Shop, Chelsea c037, lithograph, 1890,
The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (49045).
Finally Whistler drew the shop-front in the lithograph, Maunder's Fish Shop, Chelsea c037, reproduced above, where the name of the proprietor, 'MAUNDER' is seen over the open shop window, and the sign 'TO BE SOLD' on the wall above.

The shop was popular with local artists as representative of a picturesque but fast disappearing aspect of the old village. There was a watercolour by Alice Boyd dating from 1874; a drawing by Whistler's friend Percy Thomas (1846-1922); and another watercolour published (many years later, in 1905) by Philip Norman in London Vanished and Vanishing. 9 An etching by Thomas, Old Chelsea - Cheyne Walk, published in 1889, shows the fish-shop in the middle of a row of shops. 10 Another etching, by William Burgess, included in Lionel Johnson & Richard le Gallienne's Bits of Old Chelsea of 1894, shows, in rather fussy detail, the façade, the shop interior and shop sign, which, as Robins points out, were simplified in Whistler's images. 11

An etching by Whistler's friend and 'follower' Théodore Roussel (1847-1926), reproduced below, shows the ground and first floor of the same shop, with a gas lamp standing in front of the door, instead of - as portrayed by Whistler - in front of the building next door. 12

Etching: c_K279_02
T. Roussel, The Little Fish Shop, Chelsea Embankment, 1888-1889, etching,
© Trustees of the British Museum.

9: Dave Walker, 'The famous fish shop', The Library Time Machine, http://rbkclocalstudies. wordpress.com/ (accessed 2012).

10: W. Holmes May, ed., English Etchings, VIII, 1889, p. 26.

11: Robins 2007 [more], p. 128.

12: Hausberg 1991 [more], cat. no. 25.

The building was demolished in 1892. The medallion from the top of the gable-end is now in Chelsea Public Library. Whistler later lived in the house that replaced it, which was built by the architect C. R. Ashbee; this building was destroyed in World War 2.