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Renaissance Window

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 417
Date: 1888
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 179 x 128 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.390; M.391
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


architecture, building, façade, parasol, Renaissance architecture, window, woman.


Variations on the title, including spellings, are as follows:

'Renaissance Window (French Plates)' (1887/1888, Whistler). 1
'Renaissance Windows ' (1889, Whistler). 2
'Rennaisance Window - Chenonceux ' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 3
'Window. Chenonceause' [sic] (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 4
'Renaissance Window, Loches' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5

Since there seems to be some uncertainty about whether this showed Chenonceau or Loches, the original title 'Renaissance Window' has been preferred.

1: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.

2: List, 18 July 1889, GUW #13235.

3: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

4: Envelope containing copper plate, University of Glasgow.

5: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 340).


In the foreground, at right, are three women - a woman with ample shawl and bonnet, standing hands on hips, talking to a seated woman to her right, and to right, behind them, a standing woman holding a large open umbrella as a sun-shade. Behind them is the stone wall of a building, with, at left, an arched doorway barred with a haphazard array of wooden planks. To right of this (and above the women) is a narrow barred window. On the first floor, carved stone pilasters frame a window that has a closed skylight with diamond shaped panes above two larger windows, one of which is open. At the right there is another open window, with a less ornate carved frame. There are flower pots on the window-sills.


Either Loches or Chenonceau in the Loire valley, France. Whistler described the architectural beauties of the towns in the area. Writing from Tours he told Helen Whistler (1849-1917): 'So here we are - "in the Garden of France" ... sitting down on benches or borrowing chairs that we may, at our ease, look at the lovely old doorways - and marvelous [sic] carvings -' 6 Furthermore, he wrote to James Rennell Rodd (1858-1941) concerning the subjects for his etchings:

6: [22 September 1888], GUW #06713.

'I wonder if you know this most delightful part of the world - Not an Englishman in the whole place! The town itself filled with wonderful bits of Renaissance, and the environs studded with the most exquisite Chateaux, and we idle about from one to the other sketching or lazily looking on as the mood takes us - and always in the sun of an endless summer!' 7