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

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Sea Piece


The measurement for a marine painting on a 'toile de soixante' is 81 x 130 cm (figure, 130 x 97 cm, landscape, 130 x 89 cm, marine, 130 x 81 cm). The surviving paintings Whistler painted at Guéthary (Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz [YMSM 041] at 61.0 x 87.6 cm (24 x 34 1/2") and A White Note [YMSM 044] at 36.8 x 31.8 cm (14 1/2 x 12 1/2") do not match these dimensions, and nor does anything else.



Conservation History

Nothing is known about this painting.


Whistler asked George A. Lucas to order a frame for 'a sea piece of deep tone . . . toile de soixante'. 1

He explained further on 27 October:

'The large picture, "toile de soixante," is, you know for exhibition, and the frame I have to pay for myself - so that I can't well afford to run the risk of an expensive one, and perhaps not sell the painting after all! - The Brittany sea piece last year was a "toile de cinquante" and the frame very large and deep as you remember - it cost 150 fr - and if possible I should like to pay no more this time - I would even sacrifice a centimetre or two in breadth and perhaps the outside painted instead of gilded - The rest I leave to you, and am sure I shall be pleased with your choice.' 2

The 'Brittany sea piece' was The Coast of Brittany [YMSM 037] which is 87.3 x 115.8 cm (34 3/8 x 45 1/2").

Lucas ordered the frame at Dutocq's in Paris on 21 October and on 2 December accompanied Whistler to see it. 3 In December 1862 Lucas received a cheque for 280 francs from Whistler in London, to pay the frame-maker, with a request to dispatch the frames to Whistler's address in London, at 7A Queens Road West, Chelsea. 4


1: 18 October [1862], GUW #09187.

2: GUW #09188.

3: Diary, Lucas Collection, Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; quoted by Randall 1979 [more], pp. 143, 145.

4: [19 December 1862], GUW #09189. Lucas replied on 23 December that they were being sent that day, GUW #02653.

Last updated: 26th November 2019 by Margaret