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Sleeping Child, Ajaccio

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 488
Date: 1901
Medium: etching
Size: 153 x 190 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.-; M.-; T.-; W.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)


child, dog, doorway, people, mother, street.


A house front, drawn parallel to the edge of the copper plate. An open doorway frames four figures: a young woman sits with a baby asleep on her knee; behind her, to the left, sits an older woman; and a man stands in deep shadow behind the old lady and slightly to the left. Just inside the doorway, on the left, a ladder-like frame reaches from ground to ceiling, with some material thrown casually over one of the cross-pieces. Tall wooden doors or shutters open to left and right of the open doorway; the one on the right is constructed from three planks with a hinge near the top, and there is a rough bench standing in front of it. To right of this door or shutter there is a dog sniffing at the ground, and behind the dog, a woman balancing a jar on her head, receding into shadows.


The group, presumably a family, has not been identified.


The street is in Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica.


Whistler drew several similar studies in his sketchbooks: these include Sketches of a woman nursing a child m1671, Two women and a child m1672, r.: Seated woman nursing a child; v.: Standing woman m1673, and particularly Seated mother and child m1674.
The composition, showing a family of different ages from grandmother to babe in arms, in a doorway, is the last of several similar studies. For instance, Bead Stringers 235 and Fruit Stall 225 were etched in Venice in 1880, and there were several notable examples in the 1890s, including Carpet Menders, Paris 480, Sunflowers, Marché St Germain, Paris 437, and Mme Pelletier, Blanchisserie, Paris 481.