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

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Portrait of a big Englishman


Only one title has been suggested:

  • Portrait of a big Englishman (1980, YMSM). 1


The portrait of a man.


The sitter has not been identified.

Portrait of Luke A. Ionides, Private collection
Portrait of Luke A. Ionides, Private collection

Whistler painted Lucas (Luke) Alexander Ionides (1837-1924), who was quite a sturdy young man: it is just possible this refers to him. Also, Portrait of Luke A. Ionides [YMSM 032] dates from 1860, which would match the acquisition of Kauffmann's painting by the Louvre. However, Whistler had ceased to copy in the Louvre by 1860, which is why it is generally assumed that the 'big Englishman' was painted while Whistler was a student himself, probably between 1856 and 1858. The story as related by Drouet could be wrong in detail or entirely apocryphal.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 31).

Last updated: 2nd November 2020 by Margaret