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

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  • 1881: bought by the 'Russia Merchant' Andrew Muir (b. ca 1837), 42 Holland Park and Bryony Hill, Hambledon, Godalming, Surrey; 1
  • 1893: repaired and signed by Whistler at the request of David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), London art dealer.

Whistler complained at some length about the work he had to do to restore this pastel:

'I have done what I could to restore the pastel for you - Really a most tiresome job, as you can well imagine, for me, who would far rather always paint you a new picture than patch up one that has suffered!

In future you had much better consult me before you buy "Whistlers" that have been knocking about unsigned! -

Besides which it grieves me so when anything happens to the smallest thing of mine - I want at once to put it in the fire when anything maimed or disfigured is brought to me - and this pastel you will remember was taken out of its box a wreck! The glass shivered to atoms and the frame broken! - I hope you have spoken to your packer.

However - I dare say it will be liked better than before!! - Now I want you to give it into its owner's hands at once - without showing it to any body - and without allowing it to stand about in your rooms at all - Do this for me as I have done what I could to please you in this matter.' 2


  • 1881: Venice Pastels, Fine Art Society, London, 1881 (cat. no. unknown).


1: Muir to Goupil and Co., 22 June 1893, GUW #04197.

2: [21 July 1893], GUW #08252

Last updated: 11th February 2021 by Margaret