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Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 443
Date: 1889/1890
Medium: etching
Size: 128 x 178 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.425; M.421
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)


child, landscape, leisure, palm tree, pantheon, people, park, tree, urn, woman seated.


Whistler's original title is not known. Later titles are as follows:

'Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2
'Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 1' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 3
'Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 1' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4

Kennedy and Mansfield considered this to be 'No.1' with the second terrace scene being The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 444. They are both the same size and show a very similar scene. This one shows the dome of the Pantheon in the distance. The title 'Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens', which was used by Miss Philip and may have been approved by Whistler, distinguishes it from several other views of the Luxembourg Gardens.

2: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 314).

3: Envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.

4: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 421).


Four groups of women and children are seated on chairs on a terrace bounded by a stone balustrade. The nearest group, to left of centre, includes a woman with a baby and a child with a large sun-hat. At the right a woman (wearing a dress with prominent puffed sleeves) stands leaning over the balustrade. In a box on the terrace is a palm tree and on the balustrade are large urns. Beyond the terrace are trees in full leaf, including a palm tree, and in the distance, buildings, with the dome of the Pantheon rising above the trees to left of centre. The scene is sunny, with scattered shadows over the ground and the figures at right. There are traces of a seated group slightly nearer the viewer, to left of centre.


The Pantheon, seen through the trees from a terrace in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the largest public parks in Paris. It lies in front of the Luxembourg Palace, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. In 1611, Marie de Medici, widow of Henry IV and regent for King Louis XIII, commissioned Salomon de Brosse to design the Luxembourg palace and a fountain in Italian Baroque style. A series of gardeners designed and extended the gardens. Tommaso Francini designed two terraces with balustrades and parterres laid out along the axis of the chateau, aligned around a circular basin. Jacques Boyceau de la Barauderie laid out a series of squares along an east-west alley ending at the Medici Fountain, and a rectangle of parterres in front of the palace, with, in the centre, an octagonal basin with a fountain.
After the French Revolution the architect Jean Chalgrin restored the garden, including the Medici Fountain, in formal French style. From 1848, the park was filled with statues, first of famous French woman, along the terraces, and later (in Whistler's time), monuments to writers and artists. 5 Later, Gabriel Davioud, director of parks and promenades, made additions to the buildings and layout of the gardens, keeping the regular geometric pattern of the pathways but adding a diagonal alley near the Medici fountain that opened a view of the Pantheon. By Whistler's time the garden contained a marionette theater, a music kiosk, greenhouses, an orangerie and an orchard and dozens of statues. 6

5: Charles Zito and Claude Mary, Le Guide du jardin du Luxembourg, Lyons, 1994, pp. 42-3, 48-52 , 59-63.

6: Sénat official website at jardin/statues.html (accessed 2011).

Etching: c_K425_01
The Terrace, Luxembourg c087, lithograph, 1894,
The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (49073)
The scene was also drawn by Whistler in the lithograph, The Pantheon, from the terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens c070. Whistler etched a series of views in the gardens including Under the Statue, Luxembourg Gardens 464, The Band, Luxembourg Gardens 466, The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 444, Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens 465, Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg 463, The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens 473 and Polichinelle, Jardin du Luxembourg 467.