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Beatrice Whistler painting from a window, Bourges

Impression: Whistler Etchings Project
Whistler Etchings Project
Number: 399
Date: 1888
Medium: etching
Size: 135 x 98 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.-; M.-; T.-; W.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)


birdcage, fireplace, painter, street, window, woman seated.


Variations on the title are as follows:

'Out of window' (1888, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 1
'Out of Window, Bourges' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 2
'Beatrice Whistler painting from a window, Bourges' (2011, Whistler Etching Project).

The earliest recorded title, 'Out of window', is considered too cryptic. The site-specific title 'Out of window, Bourges' may have been provided by Miss Birnie Philip, based on information from Whistler or his wife - these two titles are recorded in different hands on the envelope. However, the subject has been identified more fully and the title, 'Beatrice Whistler painting from a window, Bourges' is preferred.

1: Note on envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

2: Ibid.


A woman with her hair tied up in a scarf is sitting on a sofa facing left, with a window behind her at right. She holds a brush and palette and is painting on a canvas supported on an easel, just to left of centre (the easel is seen side on). Behind and to left is a fireplace with a tall ornate mirror over the mantelpiece, and in front of this stands either a bird cage on a stand or an ornate chair.


Etching: c_K441_01

Beatrice Whistler, photograph,
Special Collections, Glasgow University Library.
Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) was an artist and designer. She had her own studio in their Tite Street house in London, and worked beside Whistler in both Paris and London. When Whistler visited Paris on his own in 1892, shortly before they both moved to Paris, he wrote to her, calling her by a pet name, 'Wam': 'The dear "busy" Wam I can see from here, with paints and canvasses and boxes and furs ... and the keys! -' 3

3: [24 January 1892], GUW #06606. See Glasgow 1997.


This may have been drawn in a hotel on the Whistlers' honeymoon in the Loire valley. Two other etchings done by Whistler during their honeymoon show hotel windows or views from windows, Windows, Bourges 398, and Windows opposite Hotel, Bourges 397. However, no paintings done 'out of the window' have survived, and it is a little surprising that an easel was available on the honeymoon. Alternatively it could have been drawn later, possibly in Paris or - though this is less likely - London.