Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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A Shop

A Shop probably dates from between 1888 and 1895. 1 Andrew McLaren Young (1913-1975) at first thought that it dated from the 1880s, and the technique could well fit with the late 1880s although the butterfly signature is unusual. However, the signature appears to have been altered, with one that is typical of the 1888/1890 period obscured by a larger version.

A Shop, Art Institute of Chicago
A Shop, Art Institute of Chicago

A later date, suggested by Whistler's correspondence, is also possible. Rose and Red: The Barber's Shop, Lyme Regis [YMSM 444] and A Shop [YMSM 448] could be the pictures referred to by Whistler in a letter written on 17 September 1895 from Lyme Regis to David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) of Goupil, London dealers, 'I shall have some lovely little pictures of the nature of the little Sweet shop - you remember - only if anything finer in quality.' 2 And on 2 November Thomson, after visiting Whistler in Dorset, mentioned having seen '...the Shops of Lyme Regis[,] the Barbers, the Sweet Shop[,] the Drapers & the other delicacies. The delightfully quaint composition, the splendid drawing & the subtle colour & tone.' 3


1: Dated 'Probably ... 1894/5' in YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 448).

2: He was probably referring to Blue and Orange: Sweet Shop [YMSM 263], An Orange Note: Sweet Shop [YMSM 264] or Carlyle's Sweetstuff Shop [YMSM 375], [17 September 1895], GUW #08370.

3: GUW #05827.

Last updated: 5th December 2020 by Margaret