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The Dog on the Kennel

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 19
Date: 1858
Medium: etching
Size: 72 x 91 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 20
Catalogues: K.18; M.18; T.20; W.8
Impressions taken from this plate  (20)


animal, dog, farmyard, kennel.


There are several minor variations of language and title, as follows:

'le chien' (1859, Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910)). 2
'le petit chien endormi' (1873, Whistler). 3
'Dog on table' (1872, British Museum). 4
'A Dog' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 5
'Dog on Kennel' (Union League Club, 1881). 6
'The Dog on the Kennel' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)) 7
'The Dog Kennel' (1898, Wunderlich's). 8
'The Dog in the kennel' (1900, Caxton Club). 9

The titles vary between ones recording the subject as the dog or the kennel, and some suggesting that the dog was in the kennel (it was not) or on the kennel (which it was), and even on a table (which it certainly was not). Later cataloguers have preferred the fuller title of 'The Dog on the Kennel'.

2: Haden to A. Delātre, 29 June [1859], GUW #13140.

3: Whistler to A. Delātre, 22 January [1873], GUW #11190.

4: B.M. Print Room Register of Purchases ... 1872.

5: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 20).

6: New York 1881 (cat. no. 11).

7: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 8).

8: New York 1898 (cat. no. 7).

9: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 8).


A rough-coated dog with long ears is lying on top of a crudely constructed wooden kennel against a wall. To right of the dog a heap of hay is piled up, while to left, behind the kennel, are bulging sacks.


A shaggy dog. The dog also posed for The Unsafe Tenement 018! 10

10: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 20).


A farm in Alsace-Lorraine, the Rhineland, in north-east France.
Etching: K0170203
The same site and the same shaggy dog appear in the bottom left corner of The Unsafe Tenement 018, reproduced above. This shows that the wall is in fact the corner of an old timbered farmhouse. There was a pitchfork to the left of the kennel in The Unsafe Tenement, and more hay in front of it. The Dog on the Kennel must have been drawn after this hay had been piled up to right of the kennel, supported by a short pole stuck in the ground.


It can be compared with such animal/farm studies as Rembrandt's The Hog ('The hog; lying on ground, children and adults sketched in to left', etching and drypoint, 1643), a first state of which was in the British Museum by 1843. 11

Although it is clearly a spur-of-the-moment sketch it shows that Whistler had extra copper plates to hand and was prepared to make a detailed and vigorous study of the dog, when also working on the more elaborate, larger plate of The Unsafe Tenement 018.

11: British Museum 1843,0607.105; White, Christopher; Boon, Karel G, Rembrandt's Etchings: An Illustrated Critical Catalogue, 2 vols, Amsterdam, 1969, cat. no. 157.1; Hinterding, Erik; Luijten, Ger; Royalton-Kisch, Martin, Rembrandt the Printmaker, London, 2000, no. 47.