La Vieille aux Loques (One of the "Twelve Etchings from Nature," or the "French Set")
James McNeill Whistler
An old woman in a white cap sits in a cluttered interior. Positioned just inside the doorway, the woman is surrounded by piles of cloth with domestic objects on shelves and walls that gleam in the darkness.
A man with curly hair and a moustache is shown looking at the viewer. He is wearing a dark, broad-brimmed hat at a slight angle, a ribbon hanging over the brim on the right side. His hands are barely indicated, but he is holding paper in his left hand and writing or drawing with his right hand.
A girl with long loose hair stands on a carpet in front of drapery. She is wearing a straw hat and cape over her dress; she is wearing flat shoes with rosetts on the top. She stands facing slightly to the left, although her eyes look at the viewer. Her left hand is not visible and her right hand holds the edge of her cape.
A stormy and blustery landscape dominates the scene; at the lower left corner, a man with a moustache leans into the wind, clutching his coat in front of him with his right hand and holding his hat in place with his left hand. The landscape is flat and largely open; small groups of trees are visible in the distance and dark lines in the sky represent clouds and squall lines. In the center of the image are faint diagonal lines "cancelling" the plate.
A tall post to right of center bisects the composition. To the right is scaffolding and a platform. In the foreground, a figure of a standing man has been erased from the plate. The foreground is at the water's edge and while in the distance at the horizon are the masts of ships and smoke coming from a chimney to the right of the tall post.
A stretch of water in the foreground and middle ground leads to a horizontal distant shore that is composed of a series of horizontal stepped recessions. The buildings on the far shore appear to be industrial buildings, with many smokestacks. At the bottom of the image are some lightly drawn boats.
A man stands in a full-length portrait, turned slightly to the left, but looking directly at the viewer. He is in historical costume with a short cape, high dark hat with a white feather and fitted vest and pants. The dark background is not described.
The Riva, One of the 'Twelve Etchings,' or the 'First Venice Set'
James McNeill Whistler
A view of a city along the edge of water sweeps from the foreground towards the right in the distance. Along quays, bridges and promenades can be seen groupoings of people walking and in conversation. Boats populate the water's edge: smaller boats in the foreground, larger multi-masted ships in the distance.
This is a portrait of courtesan and her attendant. The courtesan wears a kimono with overall cherry blossom patterns and a darker color cloak with fan, plover and wave design lining with overall cherry blossom design silk; the cloak is slipping from her right shoulder. Her obi is draped in front; it has overall hollyhock pattern. Her face is white; Her hair is sculpted like a balloon on the top and has broad wings to the side. Tortoise-shell comb and multiple hairpins adorn the hair. She is strolling toward the right. Her attendant is walking behind her, her face and body partially hidden by the courtesan. She wears the matching kimono with plover and wave design; her kimono has long sleeves (furisode), whose openings are tied with ribbons. Her obi, with peony and geometric design, is tied at the back. Her hair is in the similar shape as the courtesan but not too exaggerated. But she wears an enormous hair accessory consisting of cherry blossoms and tassels, made of silver. Her face is also in white. The painting is accompanied by poem written by Santô Kyôden with his signature and two seals. On the lower left, there are the artist's signature and seal. The mounting is made of silk brocade with embroidery in the design of clematis and millets.