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

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Portrait of Sir Henry Cole

Portrait of Sir Henry Cole dates from 1876. 1

The sitter's son, Alan Summerly Cole (1846-1934), recorded in his diary on 19 May 1876:

'J. W. called for my father - I went round later and in two hours J. W. had made a strong commencement upon a nearly life size portrait of my father. Looking at it reflected in glass and how figure stood well within the frame.' 2

According to the Pennells, it was one of the 'large six-foot full-length portraits' bought by the London printer Thomas Way (1837-1915) after Whistler's bankruptcy in 1879, and returned to the artist much later, probably at the time of Way's final settlement with Whistler in August 1897. 3

Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), the artist's executrix, told the Pennells that it was burned. 4


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 180).

2: Ms copies, with minor variations in GUW #13132; #03432.

3: Pennell 1921C [more], p. 134. See G. & W. Webb to Whistler, 11 August 1897, GUW #06241.

4: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, pp. 200-01.

Last updated: 13th November 2019 by Margaret