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The Little Hat

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 366
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 100 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 8
Catalogues: K.335; M.331
Impressions taken from this plate  (8)


clothing, dress, fashion, hat, portrait, woman.


It is the hat rather than the sitter that has dominated titles, as for example:

'The Little Hat' (1889, Whistler). 2
'The Hat' (1889, Whistler). 3
'Little Hat' (Caxton Club, 1900). 4
'The Little Hat' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5
'The Hat' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 6

Whistler and most cataloguers called it 'The Little Hat', and the shorter versions are probably just that - quick ways of referring to it, but not to be considered the correct title.

2: To Fine Art Society, 27 March 1889, GUW #13000.

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

4: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 301).

5: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 306).

6: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.


A half length portrait of a woman, her body turned to right and her face looking straight at the viewer. She is leaning on a shelf or chair to right. She is lit from the left, and is set close to a shaded background, possibly a curtain. She wears a close fitting jacket with a small collar fastening high round her neck. Her hat is set at a rakish angle, the narrow brim tilted down at right and shading her forehead, and plumes of feathers cascading down from the high crown to the up-turned brim at left.


Possibly Helen Lenoir (1852-1913). She was etched in The Fur Tippet: Miss Lenoir 365, wearing furs and another hat with an extremely raked brim and tower of feathers.


This is one of several etchings where dress and fashion - or a fashion accessory - is specified as the subject although it is also clearly a portrait: see for instance, The Fur Tippet: Miss Lenoir 365, The Fur Cloak - Mrs Herbert 367, The Busby 368, The Little Cloak 370, The Japanese Dress 371, and The Fan 375.