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

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Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat

Composition


                    Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian
Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian

                    Gants de suede, lithograph, 1890 (c35) The Hunterian, GLAHA 49038
Gants de suede, lithograph, 1890 (c35) The Hunterian, GLAHA 49038

Whistler drew a lithograph of Ethel Whibley (1861-1920) , called Gants de suède c035, which was published in the Studio. It is a three-quarter length portrait showing Ethel in a similar costume and pose to this painting.

Technique


                    Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian, GLAHA 46387
Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian, GLAHA 46387

The canvas is a coarse plain open weave, lined with a more closely woven canvas. It is thinly painted and parts have been rubbed down. The hands are almost entirely wiped away, although she may originally have held a pair of gloves. These gloves, and her left hand, were originally higher. The butterfly signature is barely visible, on the right, just below the middle of the canvas.

Conservation History


                    Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, photo, 1980
Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, photo, 1980

                    Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian
Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat, The Hunterian

The canvas shows signs of having been rolled or folded at some time (there are four horizontal marks, possibly folds, across the canvas) and as a result there are areas of fracture and paint loss, which have been retouched, possibly by Whistler or by a later hand.

It is possible that it was relined in Whistler's time, or later, to repair damage.

Following some damage in 1971 it was cleaned, repaired, retouched and revarnished by Harry Woolford in 1972. 1

Frame

203.2 x 102.7 x 7.0 cm.

Notes:

1: Condition report by Clare Meredith, 23 April 2001, Hunterian files.

Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret