La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine is signed and dated 'Whistler 1864', but work on it was probably started in 1863 and ended in 1865.
1863-1864: The model, Christine Spartali, Countess Edmond de Cahen (1846–1884) posed for Whistler twice a week in the winter of 1863-1864, according to her sister Marie Spartali (Mrs W. J. Stillman) (1844-1927). 1
1864: In August Whistler and Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) told Edwin Edwards (1823-1879) that they were 'working hard and are most anxious to get through these two pictures.' 2 Whistler's picture could have been Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl [YMSM 052] or La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine. Whistler definitely worked on the latter, according to George du Maurier (1834-1896), in October 1864. 3
1864/1865: Whistler wrote to Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) regarding this painting or Symphony in White, No. 3 [YMSM 061]: 'Will you lend me one of your Chinese blue and white rugs - The same that you once before lent me - I just want it for my picture - I think it used to be on one of the stands in the China room.' 4
1865: Whistler told Fantin-Latour, 'la Japonaise me prend depuis le matin au Soir - Elle a été mise de coté jusquà present à cause de maladie du model - Ca va être bien je crois.' (Translation: 'the Japanese woman is taking me from morning to the evening - She was put aside until now because the model was unwell - I think she will be good.'). 5 Whistler worked on La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine in early March 1865, with the intention of sending it to the Salon. 6 It was first exhibited at the 83rd exhibition, Salon de 1865, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1865 (cat. no. 2220) as 'La Princesse du Pays de la Porcelaine'.
6: Fantin-Latour to Edwin Edwards, 2 March 1865, copy in Bibliothèque Municipale, Grenoble.
7: 'American Artists in London, What they have done for Philadelphia', New York Herald, New York, 10 April 1876, p. 5; press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 2, p. 2. See also Whistler's letter to F. R. Leyland, [April 1876], GW #02568.
Last updated: 22nd December 2020 by Margaret