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Little Chelsea (Memorial)

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 315
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 52 x 83 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.331; M.323; W.246
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)


barge, building, church, house, jubilee, river, riverscape.


The title had two main variations, as follows:

'Little Chelsea (Memorial)' (1887, Whistler). 5
'Chelsea (Memorial)' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 6
'Little Chelsea' (1900, Caxton Club). 7
'Little Chelsea' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 8
'Little Chelsea' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 9
'Chelsea (Memorial)' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 10

Whistler's original title 'Little Chelsea (Memorial)', distinguishes the etching from similar subjects.

5: Whistler to Dowdeswell's, 27 July 1887, GUW #08677.

6: Wedmore 1899[more] (cat. no. 246).

7: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 255).

8: Envelope containing copper plate, University of Glasgow.

9: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 323).

10: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 331).


A view looking across the Thames, to the Chelsea shore. In the foreground at right are three wooden piles or mooring posts. On the far side of the river, behind the embankment, is a row of of three- and four- storey houses with variegated roofs and chimneys. Several shops have awnings casting shade over the ground floor. The tower of Chelsea church, surmounted by a flagpole, is to left of centre. In the middle of the river, at left, is a long, low barge with a seated figure at the tiller.


Whistler described it as 'a little etching of my house at Chelsea ... where I live!' 11 It shows the Chelsea bank of the river Thames in London, with Chelsea church and Lindsey Row, viewed from the Battersea shore. The view was drawn on the copper plate on site and was, as usual, reversed in the printing. Wedmore called it 'A jotting of the river-front of Chelsea, with the old Church, seen from across the River.' 12

11: Pennell 1908[more], II, p. 66.

12: Wedmore 1899[more] (cat. no. 246).

Etching: c_K331_02
Harmony in Brown and Gold: Old Chelsea Church y305, oil,
Freer Gallery of Art, F1902.152a-b.
A similar view is seen in a small oil, Harmony in Brown and Gold: Old Chelsea Church y305, reproduced above, and another view of Lindsey Row in Red and Blue: Lindsey Houses y306