Several possible titles have been suggested:
'Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland' is the preferred title.
The 'Arrangements in Black' are numbered inconsistently, roughly as follows:
A full-length portrait of a man dressed in a black suit, in vertical format. He stands with his right foot forward, his right hand on his hip. The left hand is hidden by a grey coat hanging over his arm. A silver buckle is visible on one shoe. He has dark hair, a moustache and beard, and stands in slight three-quarter view to right, against a black background.
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), collector and shipping magnate.
Leyland, a wealthy ship-owner, was Whistler's major patron in the 1870s, until their confrontation over Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room [YMSM 178]. 6 Curry notes that in this portrait the black dinner suit 'signals economic if not social power; it is the colour of mastery, new money as well as old embraced it.' 7
According to Walter Greaves (1846-1930), Whistler kept rubbing the portrait down, and eventually got 'a well known Italian model named Fosco to pose nude for the figure.' 8 Whistler made a drypoint of the Italian model, probably named Fusco (fl. 1870s) rather than 'Fosco', about the same time. Fusco  shows the model posing in the nude, but in a pose unrelated to the oil portrait. 'Fusco' appears to have been a professional model. He may have been a model at life-classes organised by Victor Aristide Louis Barthe (b. ca 1839-d.1910), which Whistler attended in the 1870s. Fusco is a fairly uncommon name, but there was a family of that name based in Bradford, and later Edinburgh. For instance, in the 1881 census two Italian-born British subjects, Benedetto Fusco, aged 30, and Michelangelo Fusco, aged 23, travelling musicians, were recorded in Bradford, Yorkshire. 9
At the time of the 'Peacock Room' dispute, Whistler painted a grotesque oil, The Gold Scab [YMSM 208], and several caricatures (F. R. Leyland [M.0721] and Caricature of F. R. Leyland [M.0720]). These drawings mock the frilled shirt favoured by Leyland, which is a prominent feature in the oil portraits. Evening shirts with ruffles had once been a conspicuous feature of male fashion, but were rather passé in 1870 and totally outmoded by the time the portrait was exhibited in 1874. 10
1: Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, 48 Pall Mall, London, 1874 (cat. no. 1).
2: 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. 100).
5: Letters to Ford Madox Brown, [autumn] and 31 May 1874, quoted by Doughty, Oswald and John Robert Wahl (eds), Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 vols, Oxford, 1965-67, vol. 3, pp. 1287, 1307. Portrait drawing, private collection, UK; see Merrill 1998 [more], p. 125. An 1879 crayon portrait by Rossetti is in Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, online in http://www.rossettiarchive.org/docs/s346.rap.html Surtees, Virginia,The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). A Catalogue Raisonné, Oxford, 1971, vol. 1, p. 171 (cat. no. 346).
8: Marchant, William, Walter and H. Greaves (Pupils of Whistler), Goupil Gallery, London, 1922, pp. 19-20.
9: Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock, James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonné, University of Glasgow, 2012, website at http://etchings.arts.gla.ac.uk (G.106).
Last updated: 23rd April 2021 by Margaret