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The Baby, Gray's Inn

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 288
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 100 x 67 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.298; M.295
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


baby, children, courtyard, garden, Inns of Court, tree.


All the titles used for this etching describe the subject and site, with minor variations:

'The Baby Grays Inn' or possibly 'The Little Picnic' (1887/1888, Whistler). 2
'The Baby (Grays Inn)' (1889, Whistler). 3
'Baby Grays Inn' (1890/1891, Whistler). 4
Possibly 'The Little Picnic' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 5
'Gray's Inn Babies' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 6
'Babies, Gray’s Inn' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7

There is only one toddler in the scene, so Whistler's first title, 'The Baby, Gray's Inn' (with added punctuation), is preferable to later published titles.

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

3: List, 18 July 1889, GUW #13235.

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

5: List, GUW #12715.

6: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 284).

7: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 295).


In the foreground, just to right of centre, is a toddler wearing a sun bonnet, holding a doll in her right hand and looking to right. Behind her, to left, two girls with high sun-bonnets are seated on the ground; the one on the left is looking at the other, who has her back to the viewer. A faint outline of the latter, bending forward to look at the ground, is still visible. On the far side of the lawn, to right, is the trunk of a tree. In the background to left, there is a short stretch of railing, in front of a building. To left of this is the faint outline of another tree. Two cellar windows are visible behind and to right of the railing, and above these are four narrow ground floor windows.


The Inns of court, Gray's Inn, London, UK. Gray's Inn, where members of the legal profession had rooms, enclosed pleasant courtyards. The walks and grounds were popular with nursemaids and mothers with children.
Etching: c_K298_01
Grey's Inn Gardens, 2011.
Photograph © M.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2011.