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Alderney Street

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 246
Date: 1881
Medium: etching
Size: 180 x 113 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Gazette des Beaux-Arts', 1881
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 35
Catalogues: K.238; M.236; W.196
Impressions taken from this plate  (35)


building, cab, dress, horse, hansom-cabs, people, street.


There is only one variation in the title, as seen below:

'A Street in London' (1885, Sylvester Rosa Koehler (1837-1900)). 3
'Alderney Street' (1887/1888, Whistler). 4
'Alderney Street' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5

The title 'Alderney Street' was accepted by all later cataloguers.

3: Koehler 1885[more].

4: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more], cat. no. 196.


A view at a cross-road, looking down a street running from the foreground at left to the distance at right. In the right foreground a horse is standing in the street in front of the iron railing that runs round the corner house, which has a pillared portico visible at left, opening onto the street. Down the far side of the street are two three-storey houses with similar porticos, a cross-street and in the distance, another large house. The pavements are busy with people, while a horse-drawn hansom cab stands halfway down the street, on the right, and further down the street there are two more cabs.


Stanley Street (1851) was renamed Alderney Street in 1879, shortly before Whistler worked there. Around March 1881 Whistler was living at 76 Alderney Street, Warwick Square (on the corner of Clarendon Street, on the south side) in London. This view was taken from the first floor, looking across Alderney Street and west down Clarendon Street; the north side of Clarendon Street is visible. The view is as usual reversed in the print.
Etching: c_K238_01
Alderney Street, London, 2010. 6
Photograph İM.F.MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project.

6: The rubbish bin was an unavoidable addition to the view!

It was residential street, with a number of lodging houses and a broad mixture of inhabitants: clerks, counts and coffee merchants, actresses and prostitutes, labourers and little old ladies. 7 On the surface it appears a pleasant middle-class street, and relatively unchanged (although in fact houses have been pulled down, replaced, split up, and restored). Wedmore described the view:

7: London Postal Directories and newspaper accounts, 1880-1882; thanks to M. Hopkinson for these details.

'Looking partly along and across Alderney Street, in Pimlico: 'That's a pretty one,' said Mr Whistler to me - remembering it distinctly, but not being able to put his hand upon it. He had lent the plate to the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, where - steeled of course - it accompanied an interesting article by M. Duret, in April 1881.' 8