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

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Copy after Ingres's 'Roger délivrant Angélique'

Whistler, Copy after Ingres' 'Roger délivrant Angélique', 1857, The Hunterian
Whistler, Copy after Ingres' 'Roger délivrant Angélique', 1857, The Hunterian

The Copy after Ingres' 'Roger délivrant Angélique' was signed and inscribed by Whistler '1857'. 1

J.D. Ingres, Roger délivrant Angélique, 1819, Musée du Louvre, Paris
J.D. Ingres, Roger délivrant Angélique, 1819, Musée du Louvre, Paris

1855: The oil painting Roger délivrant Angélique, painted by Jean Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) in 1819, entered the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, in 1824. It was exhibited in Ingres' retrospective at the Exposition Universelle in Paris from 5 May to 15 November 1855. Whistler was in Paris by 2 November 1855 and probably visited the Exposition. The painting then hung in the Musée du Luxembourg, which is where Whistler would have copied it, until 1874, when it was transferred to the Musée du Louvre.

1856: On 17 June, Whistler, sponsored by Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre (1806-1874), obtained permission to enter the Musées Impériaux, Paris, 'pour les jours d'étude' (on study days). 2 There is, however, no record in the Archives du Louvre of Whistler having requested permission to copy a painting by Ingres.

1856/1857: Thomas Armstrong (1832-1911) wrote that when he was working in the Luxembourg Gallery, Whistler made a copy of 'the nude figure of Angelica chained to the rock' by Ingres. 3

1857: Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) probably met Whistler shortly after his (Tissot's) arrival in Paris about 1856. Tissot first registered as a copyist in the Louvre on 26 January 1857. According to Théodore Duret (1838-1927), Whistler and Tissot were reported to have copied the Ingres side by side while Whistler was studying in the studio of Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre (1806-1874). 4 Tissot's version has not survived.

Whistler's mother, Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), wrote to him in July 1857 that, according to his aunt, Catherine Jane Palmer (1812-1877), 'Dick Palmer' – William Richard ('Dick') Suydam Palmer (1834-1870) – in Union Place, Stonington, 'values the copy you had done for him.' 5 However, she did not identify the subject of the copy. Shortly afterwards, she wrote that Whistler's brother William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900) had seen it ('Willie & Jacks went to Union Place purposely to see the painting Jemie had done for Dick Palmer, they expressed approval of your progress in painting'), and in March 1858 that she herself had seen it ('I thought there was merit in your copy for Dick Pr'). 6 Unfortunately, although it is known when the painting by Ingres was copied (1857) and where (the Musée du Luxembourg) it is not totally clear who commissioned or owned it.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 11).

2: Card No. 3338, Comte Alfred Émilien O'Hara van Nieuwerkerke (1811-1892) to Whistler, GUW #04523.

3: Lamont 1912 [more], pp. 178-79.

4: Duret 1904 [more], p. 8.

5: A. M. Whistler to J. Whistler, 13-15 July [1857], GUW #06485.

6: A. M. Whistler to J. Whistler, 17 August and 16 September 1857, GUW #06487; 23 March [1858], GUW #06495.

Last updated: 25th November 2020 by Margaret