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Fitzroy Square

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 183
Date: 1878/1881
Medium: etching
Size: 127 x 92 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: T. R. Way, 1912
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 10
Catalogues: K.App.3; 4
Impressions taken from this plate  (10)


cart, building, city, children, garden, horse, people, square, street, tree.


Whistler's original title is not known. The recorded titles show that both Mansfield and Kennedy got confused, and did not realise that they had catalogued the same etching under two different titles, as follows:

'Street Scene' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 2
'Fitzroy Square' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 3
'Street Scene' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 4
'Fitzroy Square' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 5

Kennedy described the 'Street Scene' as 'A street; a large three-storeyed house at the right.' and Mansfield recorded it as 'A view of a street with a large three-storied house at the right.' 6

However, the scene definitely shows Fitzroy Square, so that is the accepted title.

2: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 435).

3: Mansfield 1909[more] (App. IV).

4: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 440).

5: Kennedy 1910[more] (App. III).

6: Mansfield, ibid (cat. no. 435); Kennedy, ibid (cat. no. 440).


In the foreground is a broad street, with two small children partly sketched in. To right, railings surround gardens with tall bare trees; a few pedestrians are walking round the square. At the far side of the square a road leads off to right, and more iron pailings front a three-storey mansion with arches supported by pilasters round the windows, and a tall pediment and balustrade around the high roof with its tall chimneys. Houses are indicated on the left side of the street, receding into the distance, and there is a horse-drawn cab and a hand-cart near the houses on the left.


Etching: c_KApp3_02
Fitzroy Square, London, with Grafton Way to right, leading into the distance, as illustrated above and below. It appears to show the imposing frontage with arched windows at 2 Fitzroy Square, but the porch on the right is no longer there. The centre of the square is a pleasant green and wooded area, surrounded then, as now, with railings.
Etching: c_KApp3_01
Photographs M.F. MacDonald, Whistler Etchings Project, 2010.