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Rag Shop

Impression: Whistler Etchings Project
Whistler Etchings Project
Number: 380
Date: 1888/1889
Medium: etching
Size: 241 x 165 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.-; M.-; T.-; W.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)


clothing, fašade, rags, shop.


Whistler's original title is not known, so descriptive titles were given to the copper plate:

'Beginning of a Rag Shop' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 1
'Rag Shop' (2010, Whistler Etching Project).

The descriptive title 'Beginning of a Rag Shop' was given to the copper plate, possibly by Miss Birnie Philip, who inherited the plates from Whistler's estate and gave them to the University of Glasgow in 1935. 'Rag Shop' is a more accurate title, since the question of whether an etching is only just begun or finished is not usually reflected in the title.

1: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.


The bottom two storeys of a building are drawn parallel to the plate edges. There is a door on each side of a wide shop-window, with old clothes hanging to left of the window. Above, there are two windows, with people looking out of the one on the right, and shutters half-open on the left.


The shuttered windows suggest this might be a European - rather than British - subject. It is quite close in style to Whistler's etchings of Amsterdam, and the plate is close in size to two of his Amsterdam plates, The Steps, Amsterdam 452 and Bridge, Amsterdam 447.


This is one of many rag or old clothes shops etched by Whistler including Rag Shop, Milman's Row, Chelsea 329, The Little Rag Shop, Milman's Row 265 and The Rag Shop, Milman's Row 290.