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

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Portrait of Hetty Pettigrew

Portrait of Hetty Pettigrew dates from about 1895. 1 It is dated from Whistler's known association with the Pettigrew sisters.

According to the memoirs of Rose Amy Pettigrew (1872-1958), she and her sisters all posed for Whistler,

'my sister Hetty was a perfect match for him, he admired her, and was very amused by her cleverly cruel sayings, even when it was against himself. He was an exceedingly mean man, paying his accounts as rarely as he dared ... he hadn't paid Hetty for some time, so she waited until he was in the middle of an important picture of her, and ... refused to pose again unless she had her money. We never, never posed under half a guinea a day … she handed him an account for the month. "Oh ! Hetty dear, that is too much", Whistler said. Hetty looked at him with a little sneer and said, "I'm so sorry, I'd quite forgotten you were one of the seven and sixpenny men." Hetty said Whistler laughed until his white lock shook but from that day she got her half guinea.' 2


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 435).

2: GUL MacColl P/64; quoted by Laughton 1971 [more], pp. 113-14, 116-17.

Last updated: 27th October 2019 by Margaret