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

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Copy after Odier's 'Episode de la retraite de Moscou'


  • 1857: commissioned by Charles Phelps Williams (1804-1879), Stonington, Connecticut;
  • 1858: sent from Paris to C. P. Williams in Stonington;
  • 1879 and 1910: passed by family descent from C. P. Williams (who died in 1879), and his wife Georgia Palmer Babcock (Mrs C. P. Williams) (1837–1910), to their nephew, Henry ('Harry') Saltenstall Babcock (1882-1949), also of Stonington;
  • 1939: sold through A. R. Blanchard, agent, to Benjamin Flayderman (1896-1975) on 9 December 1939;
  • 1975: beqeathed to his son, E. Norman Flayderman (1928-2013), an arms and militaria dealer;
  • 2005: bought by Warren Adelson (n/a), New York art dealer;
  • 2010: given by Warren Adelsen to the Lunder Collection, Colby College Museum of Art. 1

Whistler's account of his commission from C. P. Williams is as follows:

'Then in Paris, when I was first studying, Captain Williams from Stonington, Stonington Bill they called him, got me to paint his portrait, and then gave me a commission to copy as many pictures as I chose for twenty-five dollars a piece, and I copied a picture, I cannot remember whom it was by, of a snow scene, with a horse and a soldier standing by it and another in the snow at his feet; a second of St. Luke, with his halo and draperies; a third of a woman holding up a child toward a barred window and a man seen looking through the bars; and a fourth of an inundation. I have no doubt I made something very interesting out of them. There were very wonderful things even then, the beginning of harmonies and purple schemes. I suppose it must have been intuitive. … Probably all these are still at Stonington and are shown as wonderful things by Whistler!' 2


It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.


1: Warren Adelson, New York, to Pamela Robertson, The Hunterian, Glasgow, 17 September and 4 October 2010, p. 11, Hunterian files.

2: Quoted in Pennell 1921C [more], p. 171.

Last updated: 18th April 2021 by Margaret