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

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Portrait of Mrs Forster

Portrait of Mrs Forster dates from between 1881 and 1884. 1

1881: On 16 December 1881 Whistler, in London, wrote to his sister-in-law, 'it is most impossible for me to get up today or tomorrow - for I have the old boy and Mrs Forster without intermission upon my hands.' 2

1881/1884: According to Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), he saw Whistler at work on a portrait of Mrs Forster 'black on black', and the portrait was destroyed. 3

1884: The artist Jacques Émile Blanche (1861-1942) also claimed that he saw a portrait of 'Mrs Forster, arrangement en noir', in Whistler's Tite Street studio in 1884. 4


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 234).

2: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, [16 December 1881], GUW #06695; the 'old boy' may have been Sir Henry Cole, see Portrait of Sir Henry Cole [YMSM 233].

3: Sickert 1908 B [more], p. 1027; Sickert 1910 [more].

4: Blanche 1905 [more], at p. 358.

Last updated: 19th March 2019 by Margaret