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The Young Tree

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 285
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 133 x 95 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.296; M.291
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


children, garden, Inns of Court, landscape, tree, woman seated.


There are minor variations between Whistler's titles and between published titles, as follows:

'The Young tree' (1887, Whistler). 2
'The Young Tree' (1888, Les XX). 3
'Young Tree Grays Inn' (1890/1891, Whistler). 4
'Greys Inn - The Young Tree' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'The Young Tree. Gray's Inn' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)) 6
'The Young Tree, Gray's Inn' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
'The Young Tree' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

Whistler's original title was 'The Young tree' and the etching was exhibited, sold and listed by him under that title, but with the words all capitalised. Whistler's short title has priority over the slightly longer versions, and it was also published by E. G. Kennedy as 'The Young Tree' in 1910.

2: Written on .

3: Brussels 1888 (cat. no. 5).

4: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

5: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

6: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

7: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 291).

8: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 296).


In the left foreground a young woman wearing a straw hat sits on the grass, possibly knitting. To her right sits a toddler in a big sun-bonnet, facing to left, away from the viewer. At right is a slender tree supported by a stake. At the far side of the lawn low shrubs and bushes grow in front of a boundary fence of iron palings. Beyond this, at right angles to the fence, are two houses, the first, a two-storey house on a corner, and the second a taller building, at least four storeys high.


Etching: c_K296_02
A young tree, Gray's Inn, 2011.
Inns of Court, Gray's Inn, London, UK. Gray's Inn was a sheltered green oasis in the city of London, where members of the legal profession had rooms. The walks and grounds were popular with nursemaids and mothers with children.
Etching: c_K296_01
The old plane tree, Gray's Inn, 2011.
Photographs © M.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2011.
These photographs show Theobalds Road (with the red bus) and John Street from Gray's Inn Gardens