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

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The Loves of the Lobsters

The Loves of the Lobsters dates from 1879. 1

'The Loves of the Lobsters' was seen by Augustus J. C. Hare (1834-1903) in Whistler's White House in Tite Street, Chelsea, on 13 May 1879. 2 On 25 May 1879 Alan Summerly Cole (1846-1934) noted in his diary, 'He had painted some odd things over unfinished work. Two lobsters called "Ye loves of ye lobsters".' 3

The Pennells described it as the first of three satirical pictures showing Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892): Leyland was 'the most prominent lobster in shirt-frills.' 4 Whistler intended that The Loves of the Lobsters [YMSM 209] should be in his studio with The Gold Scab [YMSM 208] and Mount Ararat [YMSM 210] when F. R. Leyland and the committee of Whistler's creditors made their official inspection of the White House in 1879.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 209).

2: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, pp. 256-59.

3: Diary, 25 May 1879, mss copy, GUW #13132.

4: Pennell 1908, op. cit., vol. 1 pp. 256-59.

Last updated: 10th November 2019 by Margaret