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Gates, City, London

Impression: Library of Congress
Library of Congress
(FP-XIX-W576, no. 283)
Number: 280
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 133 x 97 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.283; M.279
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


children, gate, ironwork, sculpture, city.


The wrought iron gates dominate the scene and therefore the title:

'Gates City' (1889, Whistler). 1
'Gateway City' (1890/1891, Whistler). 2
'Gates City (London)' (1891, Whistler). 3
'The Gate. Grays Inn' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 4
'Gates, City, London' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5

The gates are in Gray's Inn, which is in the City of London. It appears that Whistler preferred a less specific title, 'Gates City', which, with added punctuation, becomes 'Gates, City', but is not necessarily clear to a non-London audience. Adding 'London' clarifies the site and subject, and this was the solution adopted by Mansfield and Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932). 6 The preferred title is thus 'Gates, City, London'.

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

2: List, GUW #13236.

3: To Wunderlich's, 6 April 1891, GUW #13097.

4: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

5: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 279).

6: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 283).


Tall decorative wrought-iron gates stand between stone gateposts surmounted by carved griphons. The gates, with pedestrian access each side of the wide central opening, are closed. In front, to left of centre is a child wearing a large sunbonnet, and at right, a boy is approaching the gates.


The wrought-iron gate, dating from 1723, stood on the south side of Gray's Inn Fields in the Borough of Camden in the City of London. The stone piers bear griffons holding pegasus shields. Gray's Inn Fields lie south of Theobald's Road, west of Gray's Inn Road, and a block north of High Holborn. 7

7: Listed building 798-1-627101, in Camden website at (accessed 2009.07).

Etching: c_K283_01
Gray's Inn Gates, 2011.
Photograph M.F.MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project.
The gates, reproduced above, are now at the entrance to Gray's Inn Gardens from Field Court.


Whistler made a series of etchings of the Inns of Court, including The Steps, Gray's Inn 282, Gray's Inn Place 281, The Long Seats, Gray's Inn 283 and Doorway, Gray's Inn 289.