The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler



Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1851
Collection: Private Collection
Accession Number: none
Medium: pen and brown ink
Support: white paper, stuck down in an album
Size: unknown (under 6 x 5" (155 x 130 mm)
Signature: 'J. Whistler.'
Inscription: 'L'elopement.' written on the backing sheet under the drawing


L'elopement dates from 1851 and was given to a fellow-cadet at West Point, Robert B. Thomas.

L'elopement, Private Collection
L'elopement, Private Collection


L'elopement, Private Collection
L'elopement, Private Collection



L'elopement, Private Collection
L'elopement, Private Collection

A woman swathed in a shawl is clasped by a man in a heavy cloak and cap. Behind them are suggestions of a door at left, which the man is presumably closing, set in a wall with foliage at the top.



L'elopement, Private Collection
L'elopement, Private Collection

It was drawn with a fine nibbed pen, in considerable detail, with intricate cross-hatching.

Conservation History

All four corners are trimmed diagonally, and the sheet mounted in an album. The edges of the pages ar abraded and torn, and coming adrift from the album.



Robert Brenham Thomas graduated from West Point in the class of 1852. He resigned within four years and during the Civil War he rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Florida Militia of the Confederate Army. He was briefly City Clerk of Tampa, FA, where he married Mary E. Ferris. After her death he married first, Sarah McKay and later, Fannie Givens. He became a bank clerk in New Orleans, agent of the Cedar Key, Tampa and Key West Steamship Company and finally a Customs Inspector. 1 He was born in Kentucky on 20 November 1826, died on 25 January 1901 in Tampa, Florida, and was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery.


It was not, as far as is known, exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.


Catalogues Raisonnés



1: Biographical Register of the Officers, 2009 edition, #1553). Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy Class of 1852, website. The City Clerks of Tampa, Tampa, 2017, website at