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

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Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat dates from 1879. 1

It was described by the Pennells as the second of three satirical pictures of Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), showing 'a Noah's ark stranded on a hill, with little figures approaching it, or perched on the roof, all in the obnoxious frills' (meaning the shirt frills beloved of Leyland: see The Gold Scab [YMSM 208] and The Loves of the Lobsters [YMSM 209]). 2 On 25 May 1879 Alan Summerly Cole (1846-1934) noted in his diary that Whistler had painted ' "an arrangement in Rats" - the ark resting on Mount Ararat' (another transcript of this diary reads: ' "An Arrangement in Rats", the ark reaching Mt. Ararat'). 3

On 22 March 1880, Whistler, who was in Venice, tried to find out where it was, writing to his sister-in-law, 'I want to know most certainly what have become of the Lobsters - the Ararat, &c. &c. Tell Way and Elden that I value them.' 4


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 210).

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

3: Diary, 25 May 1879, mss copy, GUW #13132 and #03432.

4: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, 22 March 1880, GUW #06688.

Last updated: 10th November 2019 by Margaret