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

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Portrait of Maud Franklin

Portrait of Maud Franklin may have been started about 1874 and destroyed by Whistler at the time of his bankruptcy in 1879. 1

1870/1873: It has been suggested that this painting could date from as early as 1870. However, in 1870, the model, Maud Franklin (1857-1939), would have been 13, and she looks older than that.

1873/1874: The style of the butterfly suggests a date about 1873/1874. The rectangular field on which Whistler has placed his butterfly is rare on Whistler's portraits although common on his Nocturnes of the early 1870s. However, dating by butterfly is not an exact science.

Portrait of Maud Franklin , photograph, Library of Congress
Portrait of Maud Franklin , photograph, Library of Congress

1874/1875: This date would be fairly consistent with the dress, making some allowance for dress-maker's and painter's license. It would also fit with Maud Franklin's known association with Whistler.


1: 'Probably painted about 1870/73', according to YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 94).

Last updated: 1st December 2019 by Margaret