Variations in Violet may date from 1884. 1 It was first shown in Whistler's one-man exhibition of 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat no. 30) as 'Variations in Violet'.
It was, unusually for Whistler, a flower painting. In the late summer of 1884 (after the closure of the exhibition) Whistler wrote to Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915), 'I am greatly pleased with you - I have a great opinion of your understanding now that you like the flower pieces!' 2 Unfortunately there is no further record of the 1884 flower painting.
Variations in Violet, Whereabouts Unknown
Only one title is known:
It was described in the Liverpool Mercury on 3 July 1884 as 'a clever flower study'. As such, it is unusual in Whistler's subjects.
However, several flower compositions in pastel and watercolour were shown in the subsequent Dowdeswells' exhibition, including Mother of pearl and silver - Flowers m1107, A yellow note - Flowers m1108, and Studies of poppies m1109.
Nothing is known of the technique except that the painting was 'clever'. 5
It was described in the Liverpool Mercury on 3 July 1884 as 'a clever flower study.' 6
1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 301).
2: 12/14 [August 1884], GUW #08613.
3: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat no. 30).
4: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 301).
5: Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool, 3 July 1884.
6: Press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 7, p. 13.