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

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Portrait of Mrs Walter Cave

Portrait of Mrs Walter Cave dates from some time between December 1894 and March 1895. 1

This could be the picture that William Rothenstein (1872-1945) remembered seeing Whistler paint in the studio of the artist Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), at 13 Robert Street, London. This would have been probably between December 1894 and March 1895. According to Rothenstein, in Sickert's studio 'one day, seeing a half-finished canvas on the easel he [Whistler] began working on it, and getting interested, he finished the canvas, carried it off, and I believe, sold it as a work of his own.' 2 Sickert recorded that 'Whistler took up and nearly finished a portrait of Mrs Walter Cave which I had planned and begun' and gave it to him (Sickert), 'in a then fit of good humour', with two other canvases (Head of Mrs Beaumont [YMSM 430] and possibly Head of a Girl [YMSM 432]). 3 According to Sickert, it was subsequently lost, or, in Rothenstein's opinion, completed and sold by Whistler 'as a work of his own.' 4


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 431).

2: Rothenstein 1931 [more], vol. 1, p. 169.

3: Sickert to Florence Pash, [1900], London, Islington Public Library; Sickert 1911 [more], at p. 160.

4: Ibid., and Rothenstein 1931-1932, op. cit., p. 169.

Last updated: 25th November 2020 by Margaret