The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 137
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1872/1873
Collection: Glasgow Museums / Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Accession Number: 671
Medium: oil
Support: canvas
Size: 171.1 x 143.5 cm (67 3/8 x 56 1/2")
Signature: butterfly
Inscription: none
Frame: Grau, 1891

Date

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle dates from between 1872 and 1873. 1

1872: According to Whistler, Mme Emilie Venturi (1821–1893) and Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) saw the Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101 in Whistler's studio in 1872, and she persuaded Carlyle to sit to Whistler, after which sittings began almost immediately in the studio at 2 Lindsey Row:

'[Carlyle] came one morning soon, and he sat down, and I had the canvas ready, and my brushes and palette, and Carlyle said, And now, mon, fire away! ... Carlyle agreed that I had given him clean linen and he liked the portrait – he told people afterward that he had been there, talking ... and that I had just gone on with my work, and had paid no attention to him whatever.' 2

1873: On 29 July 1873 William Allingham (1824-1889) noted in his diary that sittings were then continuing, and Whistler, who had 'begun by asking two or three sittings ... managed to get a great many' until Carlyle rebelled – he seemed only concerned 'to get the coat painted to ideal perfection, the face went for little.' 3 The Pennells record that either the painter Philip Richard Morris (1836-1902) or his father eventually had to sit for the coat. 4

Two letters from Mary Carlyle (1848-1895), née Aitken, the niece of Thomas Carlyle, refer to sittings, but are not, unfortunately, dated. In one letter she postpones a sitting, and writes:

'My Uncle bids me say ... that he is very sorry he must give up his appointment with you this morning. He is not well enough to risk going out in the rain, even in a cab, but I hope there will be no difficulties in the way of his sitting next week.

We are a republic here; & the housekeeper (who probably asked for it with my compliments) sent for the cloak yesterday without consulting the owner of it - only out of a spontaneous feeling that it would be warmer for my Uncle than his own.' 5

And she also wrote that Carlyle liked the developing portrait:

'I write this little note out of a good spirit to tell you that even my Uncle is beginning to be impressed with the portrait; he remarked to me when he returned from his last sitting "that he really couldn't help observing that it was going to be very like him, and that there was a certain massive originality about the whole thing, which was rather impressive!" ' 6

1874: It was first exhibited in Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, 48 Pall Mall, London, 1874 (cat. no. 6) as 'Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, "Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2".'

Images

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums, photograph, 2006
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums, photograph, 2006

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, X-ray, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, X-ray, Glasgow Museums

Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle, Private collection
Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle, Private collection

Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (2), Private collection
Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (2), Private collection

Study for 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle', Art Institute of Chicago
Study for 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle', Art Institute of Chicago

 Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891
Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891

Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

r: Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art
r: Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art

v: Head, Freer Gallery of Art
v: Head, Freer Gallery of Art

Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art
Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art

J. M. Cameron, Thomas Carlyle, 1867, albumen print, National Galleries of Scotland, PGP 373.1
J. M. Cameron, Thomas Carlyle, 1867, albumen print, National Galleries of Scotland, PGP 373.1

Richard Josey, after Whistler's Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, mezzotint, 1878, University of Michigan Museum of Art
Richard Josey, after Whistler's Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, mezzotint, 1878, University of Michigan Museum of Art

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, 1892, Goupil Album, GUL Whistler PH5/2
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, 1892, Goupil Album, GUL Whistler PH5/2

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, n.d., GUL PH4/16
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, n.d., GUL PH4/16

Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother, Musée d'Orsay
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother, Musée d'Orsay

Max Beerbohm, Blue China, Rossetti and His Circle, 1922
Max Beerbohm, Blue China, Rossetti and His Circle, 1922

Filson Young, Max Beerbohm, 1916, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG P864
Filson Young, Max Beerbohm, 1916, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG P864

Subject

Titles

Several possible titles have been suggested:

Whistler exhibited the portrait as 'Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, "Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2" ' at his first one-man exhibition in 1874. At the 1892 retrospective at Goupil's, when he reconsidered the titles of his paintings, he showed it as 'Arrangement in Grey and Black. Thomas Carlyle'. The title chosen in the 1980 catalogue raisonné and retained here reflects both the standard sequence of the artistic and descriptive titles for Whistler's works adopted in 1892 and the 'No. 2' to distinguish the painting from Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101, which has a similar colour scheme.

Confusingly, Whistler wrote 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2' (the title used for the portrait of Carlyle in 1874) under a photograph of Portrait of Miss Florence Leyland y107.

'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle' is the preferred title.

Description

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

A portrait in vertical format, showing an elderly man sitting in profile to left, with his right hand gloved, holding a walking stick. He has grey hair and a grey beard. He wears a heavy black greatcoat and balances a black felt hat on his knee. There are framed pictures on the grey wall behind him, above the black dado.

Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art
Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art

A pen drawing, Portrait of Thomas Carlyle m0840, reproduced above, was done after the completed composition.

Site

Whistler's studio at 2 Lindsey Row, Chelsea, a second-storey back room with grey walls and black dado.

Sitter

The portrait shows Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the Scottish historian and philosopher. He was a firm believer in the importance of portraiture and supporter of plans for a Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

J. M. Cameron, Thomas Carlyle, 1867, albumen print, National Galleries of Scotland, PGP 373.1
J. M. Cameron, Thomas Carlyle, 1867, albumen print, National Galleries of Scotland, PGP 373.1

Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Carlyle posed for many drawings, photographs, paintings and sculpture by artists throughout the UK. A dramatic photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), reproduced above, shows him in profile, facing right (in Whistler's oil sketch and in the finished work he faces left).

Two works are comparable to the pose and impression of Carlyle given in Whistler's oil: the statue by Whistler's friend, the sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890) (bronze, 1881, Chelsea Embankment), and the oil by Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), who painted him in three-quarter view (National Galleries of Scotland). A portrait by John Everett Millais (1829-1896) shows him facing front, staring fixedly at the artist, seated and leaning on a stick. Both these oils date from 1877 and are in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (NPG 940 and 968 respectively) which also owns a marble version of Boehm's sculpture (NPG 658).

In 1891 Whistler wrote, 'He is a favourite of mine. I like the gentle sadness about him! - perhaps he was even sensitive - and even misunderstood - who knows!' 18 A year later he complained when a critic compared the portrait of Carlyle with La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine y050:

'It is rather a bore in a way that those Glasgow papers should be so over wise and minute in all their knowledge - What they send me is, in spite of all ones experience in abuse, much more tiresome in its dilettante connoisseurship of appreciation -

Such nonsense about joyousness and period - The picture takes its place simply with all the others and differs in no way from the portrait of Carlyle, excepting in as much as Carlyle himself dear old Gentleman differs from a Young lady in a Japanese dressing gown, in which it was not likely the Chelsea Sage should ever be seen!' 19

Comments

The German art critic Richard Muther (1860-1909) remarked that 'In der ganzen Linie liegt etwas Müdes' ('In the whole line there is something tired.'). 20

Max Beerbohm, Blue China, Rossetti and His Circle, 1922
Max Beerbohm, Blue China, Rossetti and His Circle, 1922

Filson Young, Max Beerbohm, 1916, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG P864
Filson Young, Max Beerbohm, 1916, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG P864

Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) not only drew one of the most acute caricatures of Whistler and Carlyle, Blue China, in 1922, but posed as Carlyle for a photograph by Filson Young in 1916. 21

Technique

Composition

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother, Musée d'Orsay
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother, Musée d'Orsay

As a formal portrait, this painting follows the portrait of Whistler's mother (Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101) and shares its essential structure.

Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle, Private collection
Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle, Private collection

Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (2), private collection
Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (2), private collection

Study for 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle', Art Institute of Chicago
Study for 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle', Art Institute of Chicago

Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Study for the Head of Carlyle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

There are several oil sketches related to the finished painting: one, Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (1) y133, is unlikely to be by Whistler; the next, Sketch for the Portrait of Carlyle (2) y134, may be largely by Whistler; then comes a study for the composition, Study for 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle' y135 and finally a vivid Study for the Head of Carlyle y136.

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, X-ray
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, X-ray

An X-ray of the painting shows few alterations except around the head and shoulders. The head was probably moved lower and to the right about 1 cm (½") and reduced slightly in size as the outline was made more precise.

A visual examination suggests that much of the painting has been changed. There is a dark area to the right of the figure where his back has been moved to the left. His left shoulder appears to have been heavily reworked. The breast of Carlyle's coat has been twice changed, and moved to the right. His left hand and hat were originally higher and to the left. His right hand, leaning on the stick, was likewise further to the left, but lower down. His left elbow was lower. The coat may not originally have trailed on the ground, but the fold of the hem on the left was much longer – so that the outline was less broken, and looked more rounded, like a skirt.

Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art
Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art

v: Head, Freer Gallery of Art
v: Head, Freer Gallery of Art

A chalk drawing in the Freer Gallery of Art (r.: Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle; v.: Head m0462) shows Carlyle in a looser jacket that does not bulge out over his chest; in addition, the chair is more at an angle to the wall and there is no coat over his knees. Interestingly, on the verso is a study of Carlyle's head looking almost directly at the viewer.

In the oil painting, the chair has also been altered, confirming the suggestion of the chalk drawing that it had originally been at more of an angle, for there appear to be the marks of chair legs between the two legs now seen, and to their right. The chair leg at the left also appears to have been originally thicker – 5 cm (2") wide – and to have been curved.

Technique

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

The head is painted thinly, so that, as George Moore (1852-1933) pointed out, 'it often hardly amounts to more than a glaze, and painting is laid over painting, like skin upon skin.' 22

Carlyle's hair is painted surprisingly broadly, with a 1.2 cm (½") brush. The same brush defines the butterfly and its cartouche neatly. The coat was outlined in black and painted with a broad brush, 3 cm (1 ¼") wide, in so thin a wash that it has dripped in places. The shoulders and collar are painted more thickly than the rest of the painting.

Conservation History

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, 1892, Goupil
Album
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, 1892, Goupil Album

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, GUL
Whistler PH4/16
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, GUL Whistler PH4/16

F. Haines & Co., restorers, varnished the portrait for the International Exhibition, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, 1888. 23 It was cleaned and varnished in 1891, and Whistler assured Glasgow Corporation that it was in perfect condition. 24

It was vandalised in 1966, and a scratch across the lower corner was repaired. 25

Frame

1874/1878: the original frame, as exhibited in 1874 and at the Westminster Palace hotel in 1878 was probably similar to that on Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander y129 and the basket weave incised frame on Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs Frances Leyland y106. 26

 Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891
Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, Glasgow Museums

It went to Glasgow in 1891, according to Whistler, in a frame designed by himself – that is, a Grau frame: 'I have had the picture newly framed in the frame of my own design in which I trust it may always remain', he wrote. 27 The new frame given to Whistler’s portrait of Carlyle did not go unnoticed. In the Pall Mall Gazette, ‘a Correspondent’ wrote that:

'It is in splendid condition and should last as long as paint and canvas may. Mr. Whistler bestows the most loving care upon works of art. He will not again exhibit a picture until a year or more after it has been painted – until it has been varnished, in fact, and entirely completed. The "Carlyle" is in this sense only recently finished. It has lately been varnished, put behind plate glass, and sealed up in one of the artist’s most recently-designed frames.' 28

History

Provenance

The provenance of the painting is more complex than the location of the work suggests, because it served as a security for diverse debts, and the copyright was sold separately.

Apparently the sitter did not want to purchase his portrait. Théodore Duret (1838-1927) remembered that it was priced at 400 guineas at the 1877 Grosvenor Gallery exhibition. 29 The following months record a variety of possible prices but no completed transaction. According to Howell's executrix, Alice Mary Chambers (1854-1920), Whistler authorised Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) to sell the portrait for £102.10.0 and gave Howell a receipt for that amount. 30 On 9 October 1877 Whistler offered to sell the portrait with copyright to Howell for £1000, his asking price being otherwise 1200 guineas. 31 In February 1878 it was offered through Howell to Jonathon Blott (b. ca 1847), oil and colourman, as security for a loan of £150. 32 Blott may have been involved in depositing the painting with H. Graves and Co. for publication of an engraving. Howell had by then bought the copyright of Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle y137 from Whistler for £80 (plus, when printed, six proofs) of a planned mezzotint of the portrait. 33

Richard Josey, after Whistler's Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, mezzotint, 1878, University of Michigan Museum of Art
Richard Josey, after Whistler's Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, mezzotint, 1878, University of Michigan Museum of Art

The mezzotint was to be engraved by Richard Josey (1840-1906) and published by H. Graves & Co. 34 On 30 September 1878 H. Graves & Co. lent Whistler £120 on the security of Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, and by 9 February 1881 Whistler owed them £300, of which he then repaid £50 as a down payment on the repurchase of his painting. 35

On 15 August 1882 Whistler offered the portrait of Carlyle to John Craibe Angus (1861-1910), Glasgow dealer, for 500 guineas. 36 According to M. D. Macaulay, Angus 'had the promise of £100 from Andrew Carnegie, of Pittsburgh' but failed to persuade other 'customers to raise the necessary £400 to purchase the Carlyle portrait.' 37

On 3 October 1884 the art critic and cartoonist George Roland Halkett (1855-1918) wrote to The Scotsman urging the purchase of Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 38 He was seconded by the artist William Brassey Hole (1846-1917) on the following day. 39 However, the subsequent subscription form disclaimed approval of Whistler's art and theories and, according to the Pennells, Whistler telegraphed to Edinburgh, 'The price of the Carlyle has advanced to one thousand guineas. Dinna ye hear the bagpipes?' 40 On 13 October 1884 Whistler wrote to Algernon Graves (1845-1922) reminding him that, although Whistler still owed £250, he owned the portrait and could dictate the price, which he wished to raise from 400 to 1000 guineas, and 'the Carlyle shall not be sold in Scotland for a stiver less than 1000 guineas.' 41 Halkett then wrote to Whistler that this made it impossible to buy the Carlyle by subscription. 42

The portrait was insured for £1000 at the Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures & Photography: A Loan Collection of Pictures by Mr Whistler ..., Dublin Sketching Club, Dublin, 1884, which also served as a statement to support its new price. 43 About the same time Théodore Duret tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade a rich merchant from Dublin to buy it. 44

In 1885 the artist William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) was thanked by Whistler for having refrained from buying the portrait of Carlyle, which Whistler still expected to redeem and sell. 45

On 29 September 1887 Whistler paid Graves back £30, but the interest for 1881-1888 came to £98.2.6. 46 Algernon Graves (1845-1922) asked Whistler to send more money before F. Haines & Co. varnished the Carlyle for the International Exhibition, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, 1888. 47 In November 1888 A. Graves, who was charging 5 per cent interest, asked Whistler to consider giving the firm a proportion of the profit to be expected from its increased value, and Whistler promised a further payment of £100. 48

Early in 1891 a new initiative to buy the painting for a Scottish public collection gained momentum when the painter Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922) wrote to ask Whistler if the portrait of Carlyle was still for sale, and proposed to raise a petition urging the Corporation of the City of Glasgow to buy it. 49 Whistler finally retrieved the painting from H. Graves & Co. on 29 January 1891 on payment of £220, and deposited it with his lawyer George Henry Lewis (1833-1911) after it had been cleaned and varnished. 50 Thereafter Whistler wrote to Walton that he was gratified with the support shown and would keep the price for the 'portrait of their great countryman' at 1000 guineas (£1050), the price at which it had been offered at International Exhibition, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, 1888. 51 The petition was handed in to the Corporation of Glasgow on 27 February 1891. 52 Whistler sent for the portrait on 2 March 1891. 53 A deputation from the purchasing committee of the Corporation of Glasgow visited Whistler in London, and, according to the Pennells, offered him £800 before agreeing to Whistler's price. 54 Whistler assured them it was in perfect condition, in a frame designed by himself, and he would send it to Glasgow through the South Kensington Museum. 55 The purchase was announced and the cheque sent to Whistler on 2 April 1891. 56 There was a lot of press coverage of the negotiations and the successful sale, both in Scotland and the south. The Bristol Mercury, for example, announced :'MR. WHISTLER TRIUMPHS. The Glasgow Town Council have unanimously approved of the purchase of Mr Whistler's portrait of Thomas Carlyle for the sum of 1000 guineas.' 57

 Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891
Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891

Graves & Co. had retained copyright for the painting, and Algernon Graves (1845-1922) demanded £235 balance due from Whistler on 16 May 1891. 58 And that, finally, was that!

Exhibitions

Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art
Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle, Freer Gallery of Art

The drawing on the recto of r.: Portrait sketch of Thomas Carlyle; v.: Head m0462 may also have been exhibited, with the oil, at Whistler's one-man shown in 1874 (cat. no. 32). 'The principal works in the Exhibition are seven life-size portraits, of which the first to arrest attention is the recently-executed portrait of Thomas Carlyle', wrote the art critic of the York Herald. 59 The oil was highly thought of by the artist, and repeatedly exhibited from 1874 on.

In 1877 it was exhibited in the entrance hall to the Grosvenor Gallery, separately from Whistler's other exhibits. The Rutland Echo and Leicestershire Advertiser commented that it had 'considerable force, though, like his other works, it looks half washed out.' 60 The Daily Telegraph and Courier, after dismissing Whistler's group of paintings as 'weird productions', praised the 'really grand and touching portrait of Thomas Carlyle … a very striking and eloquent presentment of the illustrious historian … painted throughout with a refreshing absence from that eccentricity in which Mr. Whistler seems habitually to delight.' 61

The Illustrated London News on 12 May 1877 commented that the inclusion of Whistler's portrait gave visitors an opportunity to compare it with the portrait of Carlyle by Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), which is now in the National Galleries of Scotland. As a result of its inclusion in the Grosvenor exhibition, Whistler's portrait was included in the paintings shown during the Whistler v. Ruskin trial in November 1878 at the Westminster Palace Hotel. At the end of the trial, it was shown in the premises of H. Graves & Co. together with Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101. 62

In 1884, at Whistler's request, Théodore Duret (1838-1927) escorted the portrait to Paris for the Salon and returned it to H. Graves & Co. afterwards. 63 In the same year it went to the Royal Scottish Academy, where it was skied. It was considered for purchase but rejected by George Scharf (1820-1895), director of the National Portrait Gallery. 64

Whistler had hoped to sell the portrait in Berlin in 1886. After the exhibition he blamed Helen Lenoir (1852-1913) for not arranging the award of a gold medal. 65

 Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891
Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891

Several uncatalogued shows followed: Whistler's 1889 retrospective organised by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), a small exhibition at Goupil's, 66 and another in Glasgow, after the painting was purchased in 1891. 67

Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, 1892, Goupil Album, GUL Whistler PH5/2
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle, photograph, 1892, Goupil Album, GUL Whistler PH5/2

The two pages of reviews published by Whistler in the catalogue entry for Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle at the Goupil Gallery in 1892 covered a wide range of opinions, from the comment by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) that Whistler had 'recorded on a doleful canvas the head and figure of Carlyle', to an indignant report (published in the New York Tribune on 17 January 1892) that the portrait had received many honours abroad and been purchased by the City of Glasgow, but while another portrait (Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101) 'is received with high honour in the Luxembourg on its way to the Louvre; … at that very moment another work of his, worthy to rank with the first, is hoist with equally high disrespect to the ceiling of a gallery in London' at the New Gallery (1891-1892).

In 1893 the committee of the World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893 considered borrowing the painting but did not, as the insurance costs were too high. 68 However, it was frequently lent to exhibitions in Scotland and elsewhere during Whistler's lifetime, and is still much in demand today.

Bibliography

Catalogues Raisonnés

Authored by Whistler

Catalogues 1855-1905

Newspapers 1855-1905

Journals 1855-1905

Monographs

Books on Whistler

Books, General

Catalogues 1906-Present

Journals 1906-Present

Newspapers 1906-Present

Websites

Unpublished

Other


Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 137).

2: Pennell 1921C [more], pp. 170, 174.

3: Allingham and Radford 1907 [more].

4: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 171; Pennell 1921C [more], p. 104.

5: [1872/1873], GUW #07563.

6: [1872/1873], GUW #07564.

7: Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, 48 Pall Mall, London, 1874 (cat. no. 6).

8: Whistler's witness statement at the Ruskin trial, reported in Weekly Dispatch, 1 December 1878 [more], and Globe, 25 November 1875 [more] (press cuttingss in GUL Whistler PC 2, pp. 22, 28).

9: Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, 102nd exhibition, Salon de la Société des artistes français, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1884 (cat. no. 2455).

10: Scottish National Portraits. Loan Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1884 (cat. no. 439); also in Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures & Photography: A Loan Collection of Pictures by Mr Whistler ..., Dublin Sketching Club, Dublin, 1884 (cat. no 242); International Exhibition, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, 1888 (cat. no. 614), and many other exhibitions.

11: Nocturnes, Marines & Chevalet Pieces, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892 (cat. no. 42).

12: Eighth Exhibition of Works of Modern Artists and Old Masters, Aberdeen Artists' Society, Aberdeen, 1896, Aberdeen, 1896 (cat. no. 41).

13: Exhibition of Loan Pictures shown in the Sandeman Gallery on the occasion of the opening of the Sandeman Public Library by Lord Roseberry, Perth, 1898 (cat. no. 128).

14: Loan Collection of Pictures by Living British Painters, Corporation of London Art Gallery, London, 1900 (cat. no. 72).

15: 30th Autumn Exhibition of Pictures, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1900 (cat. no. 1119).

16: 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. 5) in ordinary and deluxe edition respectively.

17: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 137).

18: Whistler to Elisabeth Lewis (1844-1931), [13 February 1891], GUW #02527.

19: Whistler to A. Reid, [26 June 1892], GUW #03206.

20: Muther 1894 [more], at pp. 530-31.

21: Filson Young, Sir Max Beerbohm, bromide print, 1916, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG P864.

22: Moore 1892 (April, II)[more], at p. 436. Moore 1893 [more], p. 18.

23: A. Graves to Whistler, 19 March 1888, GUW #01824.

24: Whistler to G. H. Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis, [29 January 1891], GUW #02550; Whistler to J. W. Paton, 26 March 1891, GUW #01674.

25: Evening Citizen, Glasgow, 18 April 1966.

26: Dr Sarah L. Parkerson Day, Report on frames, 2017; see also Parkerson 2007 [more].

27: Whistler to J. W. Paton, 26 March 1891, GUW #01674.

28: 'A Correspondent', ‘Mr. Whistler’s Portrait of Carlyle’, Pall Mall Gazette, 9 April 1891; press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 11/39.

29: Duret 1904 [more], p. 159.

30: A. M. Chambers to J. Pennell, 7 January 1907, LC PC.

31: Whistler to Howell, 9 October 1877, GUW #02783.

32: Whistler to Jonathon Blott (b. ca 1847), 19 February 1878, GUW #10340.

33: Whistler to Theodore Frederick Allingham (1844/1845-1901), 5 September 1878, GUW #02784.

34: A subscription form for the print is dated 26 July 1878, GUL LB 11/19, 20. First proofs were delivered on 2 December 1878; Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 227.

35: H. Graves to Whistler, 9 February 1881, GUW #01801.

36: Whistler to J. Craibe Angus, GUW #00166.

37: Macaulay 1959 [more].

38: Halkett 1884 [more].

39: Hole 1884 [more]. Both letters are extensively quoted in Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 2, pp. 313-15.

40: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 2, p. 315; see also Duret 1904 [more], p. 159.

41: GUW #10919.

42: 15 October 1884, GUW #13340.

43: Algernon Graves (1845-1922) to Whistler, 17 November 1884, GUW #01818.

44: Duret 1904 [more], p. 161.

45: Whistler to W. M. Chase, [ca 1 September 1885], GUW #00594 (draft) and GUW #13337, publ. in Roof 1917 [more], pp. 140-43.

46: Henry Graves (1806-1892) to Whistler (account), 26 December 1888, GUW #10926.

47: A. Graves to Whistler, 19 March 1888, GUW #01824.

48: A. Graves to Whistler, 20 November 1888, GUW #01825, and 21 November 1888, GUW #01826.

49: E. A. Walton to Whistler, 12 January 1891, GUW #06013.

50: Receipt, GUW #01832. Whistler to G. H. Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis, [29 January 1891], GUW #02550.

51: Whistler to Walton, 3 February 1891, GUW #02550.

52: Minutes of the Town Council of Glasgow and Committees, GUW #12326; Walton to Whistler, 27 February 1891, GUW #06023.

53: Whistler to E. Lewis, GUW #02552.

54: James W. Paton (1843-1921), to Whistler, 24 March 1891, GUW #01673; Pennell 1921C [more], p. 288.

55: Whistler to J. W. Paton, 26 March 1891, GUW #01674.

56: James Nicol (City Chamberlain of Glasgow) to Whistler, 2 April 1891, GUW #01671.

57: 'Mr Whistler Triumphs', Bristol Mercury, Bristol, 4 April 1891, p. 8. See also ‘Mr. Whistler’s Portrait of Carlyle’, Dundee Evening Telegraph, Dundee, 23 March 1891, p. 2; 'Mr. Whistler and the Glasgow Corporation', Pall Mall Gazette, London, 24 March 1891, p. 3; ‘Mr. Whistler’s Portrait of Carlyle’, Morning Post, London, 3 April 1891, p. 5.

58: A. Graves to Whistler, 16 May 1891, GUW #01833; see also David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) to Whistler, 7 April 1892; GUW #05717. It was reproduced in the Pall Mall Budget, London, 9 April 1891, frontispiece, by permission of Messrs Henry Graves.

59: 'Mr. Whistler's Pictures', York Herald, York, 9 June 1874, p. 6.

60: 'The Grosvenor Gallery', Rutland Echo and Leicestershire Advertiser, 25 May 1877, p. 4. See also Wilde 1877 [more], at p. 125.

61: 'The Grosvenor Gallery', Daily Telegraph and Courier, London, 1 May 1877, p. 5.

62: Algernon Graves to Whistler, 26 November 1878, GUW #01798.

63: Duret 1904 [more], p. 160.

64: See Algernon Graves to Whistler, 11 October 1884, GUW #01813. See also 'Close of the Portrait Exhibition', The Scotsman, 13 October 1884, p. 5.

65: See Helen Lenoir to Whistler, 1 October 1886, GUW #00930; see Petri 2008 B [more], at p. 118.

66: 'The Whistler Exhibition,' Evening News, London, 19 May 1889 (press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 10, p. 91); Anon., 'Two Minor Exhibitions,' London Evening Standard, London, 19 May 1889, p. 5.

67: James W. Paton (1843-1921) to Whistler, 24 April 1891, GUW #01676.

68: Whistler to Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), [November 1892/10 January 1893?], GUW #03181; David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) to Whistler, 29 April 1893, GUW #05775.