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

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The Artist's Niece

The Artist's Niece dates from 1849.

The Artist's Niece, 1849, The Hunterian
The Artist's Niece, 1849, The Hunterian

Whistler's niece Annie was born on 14 December 1848. She appears in this portrait to be under two years of age.

Shortly after her birth Whistler made a pencil drawing of her, and planned, as he told his mother, Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), to do another:

'How you would like to see the Babie, dear mother, her hair has grown and is going to be of a pretty flaxen colour and Sis intends it to be curly … I began a sketch of her which Seymour [Haden] finished and made really very like her; when I have done a nice likeness all by myself, I shall send it to St Petersburg, that you may form some faint idea of little Annie before you see her.' 1

The result may be this portrait, painted in London in 1849 before Whistler returned to America with his family.


1: J. Whistler to A. M. Whistler, [17] March 1849, GUW #06390; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, GLAHA 46005; 'Ma Nièce' [M.0021].

Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret