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


Algernon Charles Swinburne

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 1837.04.05
Place of birth: 7 Chester Street,Grosvenor Place, London
Date of death: 1909.04.10
Place of death: The Pines, Putney, London
Category: art critic


Algernon Charles Swinburne was a poet and critic.


Swinburne met Whistler in July 1862. Both were members of the Arts Club between 1864 and 1871. They were close friends, within the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Swinburne called Whistler 'père' and Whistler called Swinburne 'fils'.

In 1865, Swinburne's poem 'Before the Mirror' was inspired by Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl y052 and placed on its frame. When the picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy an extract appeared in the catalogue. The poem was, wrote Whistler 'a rare and graceful tribute from the poet to the painter - a noble recognition of work by the production of a nobler one'. Whistler gave Swinburne La Mère Gérard (1) y026. However by 1888, Whistler had (perhaps regretfully) repudiated their friendship when Swinburne published criticisms of his Ten O'Clock Lecture.'


Records of The Arts Club, London; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer, and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 (cat. nos. 24, 26, 52, 84-85, 87-88, 101); MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995 (cat. nos. 309, 317, 359, 485, 542, 658, 673, 1238); Obituary, The Annual Register, London, 1909, pp. 120-121; Lang, Cecil Y. (ed.), The Swinburne Letters, 6 vols, New Haven, 1959-1962 .