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.
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.
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
203.2 x 102.7 x 7.0 cm.
1: Condition report by Clare Meredith, 23 April 2001, Hunterian files.
Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret