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The Steps, Gray's Inn

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 282
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 67 x 179 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.295; M.290
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)


children, game, garden, Inns of Court, landscape, people, steps.


Possible variations on the title are as follows:

Possibly 'The Garden Steps' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'Steps Gray's Inn' (1888, Whistler). 3
'Steps, Gray’s Inn' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 4

'Steps, Gray’s Inn' is the accepted title, using Whistler's title with regularised punctuation.

2: List, [1887/1888], GUW #13233.

3: Whistler to Wunderlich's, 29 June 1888, GUW #13052.

4: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 283).


In the foreground two women with three children are sitting on the grass; behind them to right are two boys playing with a ball. In the middle distance is a steep grassy bank with a broad flight of steps at the left, leading up to a terrace edged with flowering plants; on it there is a garden seat and several figures at left, and behind, a wall and iron paling. Two small children are climbing the steps. A slender leafy tree is on the grass to right of the steps, and another to right of the boys.


Gray's Inn, London. 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; it is still popular for lunchtime picnics!
Etching: c_K295_01
Photograph İM.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2010.