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Whistler copied part of the painting reproduced above, which was at that time attributed to Velázquez. The original shows a group of three men in the left foreground, and ten more distributed to the right. They are dressed in long boots, clothes and cloaks of rich colours, with contrasting sashes and lace collars, broad-brimmed hats with feathers, and some have swords. It is not known which figures were copied by Whistler.
Several drawings done by Whistler about 1854 (before he left America), including Cavalier [M.0167] (reproduced above) and 'Then Sir - I am the King of Spain!!!' [M.0166], indicate Whistler's interest in the flamboyant costumes of imaginary cavaliers. They may have been influenced by his readings of Le Sage's The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santinane (1715-1735), and Cervantes' Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605).
Last updated: 21st November 2019 by Margaret