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

Little Steps, Chelsea

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 269
Date: 1886
Medium: etching
Size: 51 x 86 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.262; M.258; W.213
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


A very small sketchy etching, drawn with loose long lines and short wriggly lines, and with large gaps in the lines, augmented by patches of close shading in the interior. On this plate, Whistler etched the new shading in the second state, rather than relying on quicker and more straightforward drypoint to make the changes.


An impression of the first state is in dark brown ink on buff laid paper (); two of of the second state are in dark brown ink (, ) and two in black ink on ivory laid paper (, ).

Messrs Dowdeswell, after consulting the newly published catalogue by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), requested impressions of a number of etchings, including this one, in February 1887. 12 In response, Whistler printed two impressions of 'The Steps' on 4 September 1887. 13 These may have been the two in black ink mentioned above (, ).

12: Dowdeswell's to Whistler, 4 February 1887 , GUW #00888.

13: Note, [8 February-29 September 1887], GUW #12716.