Annah ('Annie') B. Peck, a patron of the arts, was the wife of Harold Stanton Peck, a Chicago businessman, of the U.S. Navy. They had three daughters, Marion (b. ca 1872), Amanda (b. ca 1875), and Harroldine (b. ca 1879). In 1897 Marion married William Rickman Farquhar, the third son of Admiral Sir Arthur Farquhar of Aberdeenshire.
Annah Peck was in touch with Whistler in March 1895 with regard to him painting a portrait of Marion. A price of $2000 (£400) was agreed, half to be paid when the painting was substantially under way and the rest on completion (#10706). Whistler wrote: 'it would be for me, a rare delight to paint your daughter! - Seldom indeed has one the wonderful chance of daintiness and lovely colour combined!' (#09358). According to the Pennells, Portrait of Miss Marion Peck y439 showed Marion standing full length 'in evening dress, with her long white green lined cloak thrown back... the colour was supposed to be a harmony in silver and green'. The picture was completed and the balance paid. However, Whistler did not send on the picture but a year later proposed further sittings in Fitzroy Street to 'make perfect the work that is to hand down the little American Duchess!' (#10705). According to the New York Sun, by November 1896 Annah Peck's daughter had given over 90 sittings. Marion gave further sittings in 1897 and 1898, but the painting was still incomplete in 1900 and in June 1901 the Farquhars withdrew the deposit. The painting was still in Whistler's studio at his death in 1903 when the Farquhars tried unsuccessfully once again to obtain it.
US census, 1880; New York Sun, 12 November 1896; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer, and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 .