Portrait of Miss Lilian Woakes probably dates from between late 1892 and the autumn of 1893. 1
This portrait was probably commissioned by the sitter's father, Edward G. Woakes (1837-1912), a doctor then practising in Harley Street, London. Théodore Duret (1838-1927) wrote that it was painted from about the winter of 1890 until mid-1891, but later revised this to a date of 1892, which is more likely. 2
Whistler had asked for three sittings but took about twenty-five, and he intended the pink bow at the neck of her blouse to stand for his butterfly signature but, on the insistence of the sitter, he added a conventional butterfly to the left of the neck. 3 The painting was given to Dr Woakes unvarnished, to be varnished a year or so later when Whistler advised it. 4
3: Whistler, Macbeth Galleries, New York, 1914 (cat. no. 3).
Last updated: 14th October 2020 by Margaret