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


Frederick William Buckstone

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 13 August 1837
Place of birth: Brompton, Middlesex
Date of death: 1884
Place of death: Brentford
Category: gallery manager


Frederick Buckstone was the son of Anna Maria and John Baldwin Buckstone. In 1881 he was recorded as a landscape artist, living at 10 South Crescent, London. In 1884 he married the widowed Emma Caroline Lloyd, his age being given as 47 and hers as 39.


Buckstone was was the secretary of Morgan's Gallery at 14 Berners Street, London, in 1862.

Whistler's Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl y038 was rejected by the Royal Academy in April 1862. It nevertheless created a stir when it was exhibited at the Berners Street Gallery in June 1862 [#11977]. It was advertised by the gallery in the Athenaeum as 'Whistler's extraordinary Picture of 'The Woman in White'', a reference to the title of William Wilkie Collin's popular novel The Woman in White (London, 1860). In an earlier number of the Athenaeum F. G. Stephens had also drawn the connection between Whistler's picture and Collin's novel: 'A woman, in a quaint morning dress of white with her hair about her shoulders, stands alone, in a background of nothing in particular [...] The face is well done, but it is not that of Mr. Wilkie Collins's 'Woman in White.'

Stephens' remarks, together with the advertisement, caused Whistler to write a letter of denial to the Athenaeum on 1 July 1862: 'May I beg to correct an erroneous impression likely to be confirmed by a paragraph in your last number? The Proprietors of the Berners Street Gallery have, without my sanction, called my picture 'The Woman in White.' I had no intention whatsoever of illustrating Mr. Wilkie Collins's novel; it so happens, indeed, that I have never read it. My painting simply represents a girl dressed in white standing in front of a white curtain' (GUW #13149).

However, Buckstone contested Whistler's claim. On 19 July 1862 he wrote to the editor of the Athenaeum, that Whistler was well aware that his picture had been advertised as 'The Woman in White' and that he was pleased with the name. 'There was no intention,' Mr. Buckstone declared, 'to mislead the public by the supposition that it referred to the heroine of Mr. Wilkie Collins' novel; but being the figure of a female attired in white, with a white background, with which no-colour the artist has produced some original effects, the picture was called 'The Woman in White,' simply because it could not be called 'The Woman in Black,' or any other colour' (GUW #12979).


UK census 1881; London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,; London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, ; Stephens, F. G., 'Fine Art Gossip,' The Athenaeum, 28 June 1862, p. 859; Whistler, J. M., The Athenaeum, 1 July 1862, p. 23; Buckstone, F., The Athenaeum, 19 July 1862, p. 86; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer, and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 .