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Market Women, Loches

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 423
Date: 1888
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 149 x 80 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.389
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


donkey, dress, market, people, poultry, stall, town, woman.


Several market scenes have similar titles, causing considerable confusion. Furthermore, several incompatible titles have been associated with this etching, as follows:

'The Donkey Market P[l]ace Loches (French Plates)' (1887/1888, Whistler). 1
'Donkey, The, Market Place Loches' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 2
'Market Women Loches' (1891, Whistler). 3
'The Donkey, Market Place. Loches' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 4
'Poultry-Market, Loches' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5

Some of these titles are downright confusing; no donkey is visible, and the poultry are very tiny indeed, if that is what the little heads poking out of a basket are. It is just possible that the 'donkey' reference was a family joke (known to Whistler, his wife and sister-in-law), and referred to the back view of a woman bending down to pick up a load of goods, to left of centre.

The more appropriate title, 'Market Women, Loches', is based on Whistler's 1891 title, and was accepted at that date by H. Wunderlich & Co., and by collectors (The same title, 'Market women - Loches' was written at some time on ).

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

2: List, GUW #12715.

3: Whistler to Wunderlich, 6 April 1891, GUW #13097.

4: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 389).


A market scene, showing a sunny street with, at left, a shadowed arch with goods piled in front, and at right, doors and windows roughly indicated. In the foreground at left is a women in profile, partly drawn in, and to her right, the back view of a woman bending down to pick up a load of goods. Behind this woman is a woman in a bonnet buying goods from another woman and just to her left is what may be a set of scales for weighing goods. To right of centre is a woman wearing a full cloak, turning to right, facing another woman with a basket of fruit at her feet. At far right are two more women, one with a basket over her arm, and at far right a disembodied head, barely visible.


Loches is a town in the Loire valley, France. Whistler etched a number of scenes there, including Market Women: Turkeys 424, Booth, Market Place, Loches 425 and Tour Saint Antoine, Loches 414.


Other market scenes dating from this period include Flower Market, Brussels 339, Market Place, Ostend 350, The Market, Bruges 354, all in 1887, and The Market Place, Tours 388, Little Market Place, Tours 389, Market Women: Turkeys 424 and Booth, Market Place, Loches 425 in 1888. Whistler concentrated on the character and dress of the women in the market, viewing the market as a social and domestic event as well as an economic one. He did not print or sell many impressions of the etchings of market women, so from his point of view it was barely economic.