Whistler's original title is not known. Only one title has been suggested:
It was described by the owner as 'a girl by a shelf on which was some china'. 3
Neither the description nor history fully fit any surviving work. Subjects like Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks [YMSM 047] or Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl [YMSM 052] include both women and shelving, but their history is too well known for either of them to have been the painting in question.
Both Study of a Female Figure [YMSM 081] and Tanagra [YMSM 092] have one very low shelf bearing a vase, and, because they have very little provenance, might have been candidates, although Tanagra is really too small to be considered in this context.
Finally, on the canvas illustrated above, there was once a painting of a draped figure in an interior, possibly with shelving. However, Whistler had scraped down the figure and painted Nocturne: The Solent on the recto by 1871/1872, so it really cannot be the painting mentioned by Mme Coronio in the late 1870s.
Last updated: 28th November 2019 by Margaret