A boy with long hair sits on a low ledge or rail, facing to the left but looking at the viewer. The figure is lit from the left and behind the figure to the right is deep shadow.
Whistler executed a number of drypoint portraits during the early and mid-1870s. Because of the amount of plate tone to the right of the image, it is likely that this impression was pulled after Whistler's return from Venice. The sitter is Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), Whistler's illegitimate son with Louisa Fanny Hanson, believed to be a parlourmaid.
ON RECTO. Signed in black paint, bottom center: Jim Suddth + ON VERSO. Inscribed in blue ink on white label, affixed top center: 876 Jimmy Lee Sudduth / UNTITLED PAINTED FRAME with figure / mud/paint on wood + Inscribed in blue ink on small white label, top center: I 54
A courtyard is depicted in the foreground with a doorway leading to a long passage in the distance at the right. The chief object of interest is the elaborate portal out of the couryard, flanked by columns and above which is a window with a balcony. Two faintly drawn windows are visible to the left, in front of which two figures sit together on a bench; there is indication of two stories of windows above the doorway, although the one of the third floor is only loosely indicated. The quoined edges of a tall wall at the right leads to a low wall on the right side in the foreground. In the foreground at the left are three children.
Whistler lived near the Royal Hospital in Chelsea and drew the courtyard of this retreat for pensioners that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682.
A woman in a dark dress stands in an interior beside a window at left. Her left hand hangs at her side while her right hand, positioned in front of her waist, holds a cigar or cigarette. She wears a dark hat and has long curling hair; her head is inclined at an angle to the right.
Finette was a famous dancer who performed at the Bal bullier in Paris and is reported to have brought the can-can to France, She was quite a celebrity at the time Whistler made this drypoint and she sat for a number of photographers of the day as well. The interior is her apartment in Montmartre. In later states of the plate, Whister further describes the still life on the table behind the figure as well as the view out the window.