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

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Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland


  • After 1879: bought for Thomas Way (1837-1915), London, at the time of Whistler's bankruptcy.
  • By 1905: owned by Charles Conder (1868-1909).

After Whistler's bankruptcy in 1879, according to Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), F. R. Leyland refused to take a little sketch of himself, which might have been this portrait; finally a picture dealer bought it on behalf of Way's father, Thomas Way, the London printer. 1

It was definitely lent by the artist Charles Conder to the Whistler memorial exhibition in London in 1905 (cat. no. 97) as 'Portrait sketch of F. R. Leyland'. 2

David Heinemann (dates unknown), a relative of the publisher William Heinemann (1863-1920), said that at one time he had owned a sketch of Leyland, possibly Study in Grey for the Portrait of F. R. Leyland [YMSM 095] or Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland [YMSM 096], which in 1911 was in the possession of Deschechierres (dates unknown) of Paris, a friend of William Heinemann. 3 Unfortunately it has not been possible to substantiate this or establish which painting is the one mentioned.


  • 1905: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the late James McNeill Whistler, First President of The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, New Gallery, Regent Street, London, 1905 (cat. no. 97) as 'Portrait sketch of F. R. Leyland'.


1: Way 1912 [more], pp. 135-36.

2: The description of this portrait when in Charles Conder's possession in 1905 tallies with the photograph reproduced by the Pennells, Pennell 1921C [more], repr. f.p. 97. The Pennells mistakenly recorded the portrait study as in the possession of the estate of F. R. Leyland in 1921. He had died in 1892, but this study did not go to his estate.

3: D. Heinemann to J. Pennell, 28 September 1911, LC PC.

Last updated: 25th November 2020 by Margaret