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

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Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs

Titles

Alternative titles have been suggested:

  • 'Harmony in Crimson and Brown' (1881, Whistler). 1
  • 'Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs' (1980, YMSM). 2

'Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs' is the preferred title.

Description

A full length portrait of a woman in vertical format. She faces the viewer, wearing a full-length brown fur coat with a broad collar, a muff, and hat.


                    Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs, photograph, GUL Whistler PH4/26
Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs, photograph, GUL Whistler PH4/26

A photograph in the Glasgow University Library gives the proportions for Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs [YMSM 230]. Assuming it to have been life-size, these proportions correspond to a canvas of approximately 75 x 35 (191 x 89). In 1908 the Pennells said that Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs [YMSM 230] was smaller than Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux [YMSM 228] and Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux [YMSM 229], but in 1911 they omitted this statement. 3

Sitter


                    Lady Meux and Sir Henry Meux, photograph, Lowewood museum
Lady Meux and Sir Henry Meux, photograph, Lowewood museum

Valerie Susan Meux (née Langdon) (1847-1910) .

This was the third of Whistler's portraits of Lady Meux, and the only one not completed (see Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux [YMSM 228], Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux [YMSM 229]).

When she was posing for one of the portraits, Whistler wrote to her, 'I trust you will be quite well and in brilliant spirits that I may catch the particular sparkle in the wonderful eyes I mean this picture to have!' 4

Notes:

1: Inscribed on Harmony in Crimson and Brown [M.0853], private collection.

2: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 230).

3: Pennell 1908 [more] , vol. 1, pp. 301-02; Pennell 1911, op. cit.

4: [1882/1883], GUW #09299.

Last updated: 14th November 2020 by Margaret