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

After the Sale, Clothes Exchange, Houndsditch

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 357
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 127 x 177 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.294; M.289
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


child, clothing, interior, shop, stall, market, people, woman.


Variations on the title and placename are as follows:

'After Sale Exchange ' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'After Sale (Houndsditch[)]' (1888, Whistler). 3
'After the Sale, Houndsditch' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 4
'After the Sale, Hounsditch' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5
'After the Sale, Clothes Exchange, Houndsditch' (2012, Whistler Etchings Project).

Since Whistler's original title is not self-explanatory, a fuller title, 'After the Sale, Clothes Exchange, Houndsditch', has been preferred. The spelling Houndsditch is usual although Hounsditch is also acceptable. 6

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

3: Whistler to Wunderlich's, 29 June 1888, GUW #13052.

4: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 282).

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 294).

6: Thomas Miller, Picturesque Sketches of London, London, 1852; James Greenwood, Journeys; or Byways of the Modern Babylon, London, 1867.


A stall in an indoor market, with a wide open doorway, through which are seen the empty shelves on the back wall, and a few clothes or sacks remaining on a sloping shelf below. Inside, a woman stands with hands on hips, and to right, another women and small boy sit on the sloping shelf. Outside, at the right, is a young woman, leaning against another stall, where some clothes are heaped, and coats hung behind and above her. The standing woman is looking to the right; the others all look directly at the viewer.


The Clothes Exchange in Houndsditch, in the East End of London, which is shown in several other etchings (Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch. No. 1 358, Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch. No. 2 359 and Fleur-de-lis Passage 360). Whistler's etching appears to have been drawn at the end of the day, when the market was quiet.
Henry Mayhew in London Labour and the London Poor (London, 1851) recorded that 'anything like the Old Clothes Exchange of the Jewish quarter of London, in the extent and order of its business, is unequalled ... Mr. L. Isaac, the present proprietor, purchased the houses which then filled up the back of Phil’s-buildings, and formed the present Old Clothes Exchange.' Mayhew and Binny later commented : 'Some dozen years ago, one of the Hebrew merchant dealers in old clothes purchased the houses at the back of Phil's Buildings -  a court leading out of Houndsditch, immediately facing St Mary Axe, and formed the present market, now styled the "Old Clothes Exchange"'. The Exchange was busiest, they noted, 'About three or four o'clock in winter, and four or five in summer.'     7

7: H. Mayhew and John Binny, The Criminal Prisons of London and Scenes of London Life, London, 1862, pp. 39-40.


Some of the Houndsditch etchings are distinguished by their presentation of the local people, particularly the working women, who stare directly at the artist and confront the viewer in this etching and in Melon Shop, Houndsditch 355, and to a lesser extent in Clothes-Exchange, Houndsditch. No. 2 359 and Cutler Street, Houndsditch 361 (the latter including a child staring boldly at the artist). Whistler usually captured people's poses, character and dress with vivid and expressive line, but showed them interacting with each other, as if unaware of the artist/voyeur recording their lives.