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The Dray Horse

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 292
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 84 x 52 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.247; M.436
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


cart, costume, dress, people, horse, street.


Variations on the title and punctuation are as follows:

'Dray horse' (1887, Whistler). 3
'The Dray Horse' (1887/1888, Whistler). 4
'The Dray Cart' (1903, Wunderlich's). 5
'Dray Horse, Paris' (1904, Grolier Club). 6
'The Dray-Horse' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
'Dray-Horse, Paris' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

'The Dray Horse' is the preferred title, and was used by Whistler. Wunderlich's title is misleading - a dray is a cart.

3: Whistler to T. McLean, 17 May 1887, GUW #13011.

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

5: New York 1903b (cat. no. 243).

6: New York 1904a (cat. no. 347).

7: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 436).

8: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 247).


At left is a horse with a broad horse-collar pulling a low cart. Two women stand talking to right of the cart, the one on the right wearing a white muslin or cotton bonnet with wide starched 'ears'. Behind them, at left, is a three-storey corner house, with a street running behind it, and more houses on the far side, at right. The foreground is empty.


The traditional local dress worn by one of the women, and the heavy horse-collar, suggests that this was not etched in central Paris. However, it is not clear if it could have been etched in a smaller town, such as Dieppe, and even in Paris, there could have been women coming in with goods from the country.
According to Mansfield, 'Mr. Pennell says that this was etched at St. Germain....' but since Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) also suggested a totally inaccurate date (1893) he can not be considered a good source of information on this particular etching. 9

9: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 436).