The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 096
Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1870/1873
Collection: Whereabouts Unknown
Accession Number: none
Medium: oil
Support: canvas
Size: 36.8 x 22.9 cm (14 1/2 x 9")
Signature: butterfly
Inscription: none
Frame: unknown

Date

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland dates from some time between 1870 and 1873. 1

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, Whereabouts unknown
Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, Whereabouts unknown

Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art

It is dated from the butterfly monogram and from its relationship to Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland y097.

Images

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, photograph, GUL
Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, photograph, GUL

Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art

Subject

Titles

Only one title is known:

Description

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, photograph, GUL
Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, photograph, GUL

A study of a full-length male figure, standing with his right hand on hip, slightly turned to his left, his head facing the viewer. He has a moustache and pointed beard. He is wearing a dark suit and carrying a coat or cloak over his left arm. The floor and dado are dark, and the wall above, paler, with a narrow column or painted vertical strip to right.

Sitter

Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892).

Comments

Both Curry and Merrill comment that the pose and dress of Leyland seen in the Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland y096, and developed in Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland y097, are comparable to those in a portrait by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) of Philip IV (1623, Museo Nacional del Prado), of which Whistler had photographs. 4 It is not, however, certain when he acquired these photographs. 5

Technique

Composition

Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, Whereabouts unknown
Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland, Whereabouts unknown

Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland, Freer Gallery of Art

This portrait undoubtedly represents Leyland, and in a pose very similar to the completed portrait (Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland y097) but with his right hand higher up on his waist, and with less shirt-front visible. The background is totally different, with a dark floor and dado, and a light coloured wall.

Technique

Judging from the photograph, it was painted very thinly indeed, and possibly partly rubbed down. However, there are some clearly defined brushstrokes clarifying the head, shirt, and the cloak over his arm. The butterfly in its roundel may not have been added by Whistler, and it is possible the sketch was touched up by another hand.

Conservation History

Unknown.

Frame

Unknown.

History

Provenance

After Whistler's bankruptcy in 1879, according to Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), F. R. Leyland refused to take a little sketch of himself, which might have been this portrait; finally a picture dealer bought it on behalf of Way's father, Thomas Way, the London printer. 6

It was definitely lent by the artist Charles Conder to the Whistler memorial exhibition in London in 1905 (cat. no. 97) as 'Portrait sketch of F. R. Leyland'. 7

David Heinemann (dates unknown), a relative of the publisher William Heinemann (1863-1920), said that at one time he had owned a sketch of Leyland, possibly Study in Grey for the Portrait of F. R. Leyland y095 or Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland y096, which in 1911 was in the possession of Deschechierres (dates unknown) of Paris, a friend of William Heinemann. 8 Unfortunately it has not been possible to substantiate this or establish which painting is the one mentioned.

Exhibitions

Bibliography

Catalogues Raisonnés

Authored by Whistler

Catalogues 1855-1905

Journals 1855-1905

Monographs

Books on Whistler

Books, General

Catalogues 1906-Present

Journals 1906-Present

Websites

Unpublished

Other


Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 96).

2: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the late James McNeill Whistler, First President of The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, New Gallery, Regent Street, London, 1905 (cat. no. 97).

3: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 96).

4: Curry 1984 [more], plate 15; Merrill 1998 [more], pp. 127-28, Portrait of Philip IV King of Spain by Velázquez, albumen print, Glasgow University Library, repr. p. 129.

5: Portrait of Rey Felipe IV (Philip IV King of Spain) by Velázquez, albumen print, Glasgow University Library Whistler PH3/4 and 6; the first of these was published by A. Giraudon, 15 rue Bonaparte, Paris, which suggests it dates from after 1877. University Collections website at University Collections website at http://collections.gla.ac.uk/#/details/ecatalogue/337943..

6: Way 1912 [more], pp. 135-36.

7: The description of this portrait when in Charles Conder's possession in 1905 tallies with the photograph reproduced by the Pennells, Pennell 1921C [more], repr. f.p. 97. The Pennells mistakenly recorded the portrait study as in the possession of the estate of F. R. Leyland in 1921. He had died in 1892, but this study did not go to his estate.

8: D. Heinemann to J. Pennell, 28 September 1911, LC PC.