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

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  • 1851: given to Cadet Robert Brenham Thomas (1826-1901) of Kentucky;
  • Date unknown: given to his godson;
  • Date unknown: passed by family descent to his son and grand-daughter;
  • 2012: appraised for the latter by Alasdair Nichol, Freeman's Auctioneers, Philadelphia, PA, in the PBS Roadshow in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 23 June 2012.

Robert Brenham Thomas graduated from West Point in the class of 1852. He resigned within four years and during the Civil War he rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Florida Militia of the Confederate Army. He was briefly City Clerk of Tampa, FA, where he married Mary E. Ferris. After her death he married first, Sarah McKay and later, Fannie Givens. He became a bank clerk in New Orleans, agent of the Cedar Key, Tampa and Key West Steamship Company and finally a Customs Inspector. 1 He was born in Kentucky on 20 November 1826, died on 25 January 1901 in Tampa, Florida, and was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery.


It was not, as far as is known, exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.


1: Biographical Register of the Officers, 2009 edition, #1553). Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy Class of 1852, website. The City Clerks of Tampa, Tampa, 2017, website at

Last updated: 28th February 2021 by Margaret