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

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Study of Draped Figures


  • 1879: probably partially destroyed at the time of Whistler's bankruptcy, and passed for safe keeping to William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916) ;
  • 1903: Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) recorded seeing 'A balcony upon which are three figures', which had been 'left by Mr Whistler and never sent for', in the possession of W. C. Alexander in London; 1
  • 1903: Freer told Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) that Alexander had this painting and she asked him to return it, which he did; 2
  • 1935: given by Miss R. Birnie Philip to the University of Glasgow.

Unfinished works, and paintings destroyed by the artist, were not sold at the time of his bankruptcy. Some were retained for safe-keeping by Whistler's family, friends, and even creditors, and some of these paintings were returned to him later.


It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime. Under the terms of Miss Birnie Philip's Gift to the University of Glasgow, it cannot be lent to other venues.


1: n.d., Freer Diaries, Bk 13, Freer Gallery of Art.

2: [1903], GUL Whistler LB6/9.

Last updated: 20th October 2020 by Margaret