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Rag Shop, St Martin's Lane

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 328
Date: 1887/1888
Medium: etching
Size: 84 x 185 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.282; M.277
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)


baby, children, clothing, rags, shop, street, people, woman standing.


There are only minor variations in the title, as follows:

'St Martin's Lane (Rag[)]' (1888, Whistler). 2
'Rag Shop. St Martains' [sic] (1890/1891, Whistler). 3
'St. Martin’s Lane Rag Shop' (1898, Wunderlich's). 4
'Rag-Shop, St. Martin's Lane' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5

'Rag Shop, St Martin's Lane', is the preferred title, being based on earlier titles, with punctuation regularised.

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

3: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

4: New York 1898 (cat. no. 208).

5: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 277).


The left third of the plate is empty except for the butterfly signature. To right are three bow windows, and between them, the doors to two shops. The word 'RAG' is visible on a central pane of the window in the middle. Two women are standing on the pavement in front of the shop at left; in the middle, a baby sits on the pavement with a small child looking down behind her; and a girl holding a baby, another child and seated baby are indicated roughly to right.


St Martin's Lane, London, runs from St Martin-in-the-Fields, near Trafalgar Square, north to Long Acre. In the 18th century it was the site of the Academy founded by William Hogarth (1606-1669). The printers, Thomas and James William Harrison were at 45 St Martin's Lane. There was a wide range of small businesses including dentists, confectioners, tailors, China dealers, button manufacturers, tobacconists, wax chandlers, engravers, bookbinders, theatrical costumiers, cloth merchants, woolen warehouses, several pubs, a post office and the Westminster County Court. 6 Whistler also etched Shaving and Shampooing 442 in the lane.

6: London Postal Directory, 1888.


This is one of many shop fronts, most of which were etched by Whistler between 1886 and 1888; these included several other 'Rag' or old clothes shops, such as The Little Rag Shop, Milman's Row 265, Rag Shop, Milman's Row, Chelsea 329, The Rag Shop, Milman's Row 290 and Rag Shop 380. He also drew (Mauve et argent: Marchand de chiffons, Chelsea m1118, Chelsea Rags m1586) and painted (Old Clothes Shop, Houndsditch y371) old clothes' shops.