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

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The Rose Scarf


  • 1903: in Whistler's studio at his death, and bequeathed to his ward and executrix, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) ;
  • 1935: given by Miss R. Birnie Philip to the University of Glasgow.


  • 1905: Œuvres de James McNeill Whistler, Palais de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1905 (cat. no. 32) as 'The Rose Scarf'.

As far as is known, it was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime, but was first shown in the Memorial exhibition in Paris in 1905.

When it was shown at Colnaghi's in London in 1915, it received a favourable reception. The Observer, in a generally critical review, singled it out as among 'a few things of supreme quality.' 1 Sir Claude Phillips (1846-1924) thought it exceptional:

' "L'Echarpe Rose", a study more serious than the title would suggest, is an exception in the exhibition, and, indeed, in the life-work of the painter. The wearer of the diaphanous pink scarf from which the drawing takes its name, is a woman handsome, but worn, fretful, almost phthisical of aspect, with something of tragedy, too, in her eager, interrogating look.' 2

Owing to the terms of Miss R. Birnie Philip's gift to the University of Glasgow, it is not lendable.


1: Anon., 'Art and Artists. A Whistler Exhibition', The Observer, London, 6 June 1915; press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 21, p. 23.See also 'The Whistler Loan Exhibition', Westminster Gazette, London, 7 June 1915, p. 3.

2: Phillips, Claude,' Art Exhibitions. A Whistler Display', [June 1915], press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 21, p. 24.Philips wrote for The Daily Telegraph, Manchester Guardian and other publications.

Last updated: 31st December 2020 by Margaret