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Drury Lane

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 243
Date: 1880/1881
Medium: etching
Size: 164 x 103 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 26
Catalogues: K.237; M.234; W.176
Impressions taken from this plate  (26)


children, , people, shop-front, shop, streetscape.


It has always been called by the same title, as in the following examples:

'Drury Lane' (1883, F.A.S). 1
'Drury Lane' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2

1: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 31).

2: Wedmore 1886 A[more], cat. no. 176


In the foreground are four small children at left, and one at right, standing at the entrance to a wide passageway through a building. Above the passage is a tiled or shingled wall and the base of a window. On the far side of the passage is a narrow street, with a figure on the pavement in front of a shop on a street corner. To right of the corner shop is a lamp-post, and behind it, to right, there are more shops and figures across a street.


Drury Lane, London, known then as now as a centre of theatres and entertainment, was also an area of terrible poverty, squalor and deprivation. In 1883 a critic described this etching as 'a curious vista view, seen through a gateway, of the dirty, dismal, but not unpicturesque-looking houses of Drury-lane.' 3

3: Anon., 'The Studio. An Arrangement in White and Yellow', The Queen, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/24).