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

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Annabel Lee


  • Before 1887: acquired from the artist by Thomas Way (1837-1915) , London;
  • 1887: borrowed by Whistler but returned to Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913) ;
  • 1905: bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) , Detroit, July 1905;
  • 1919: bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art.

Further details are given in MacDonald 1995 (cat. rais.) [more] (cat. no. 1077).


  • 1885: possibly Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885 (cat. no. 566) as 'Harmony in Opal and Violet'.
  • 1905: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the late James McNeill Whistler, First President of The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, New Gallery, Regent Street, London, 1905 (cat. no. 63) as 'Annabel Lee'.

On 2 December 1885 the Echo commented on two pastel 'seaside' sketches by Whistler then on exhibition at the Society of British Artists. One of them may have been this pastel. The titles of pastels shown at that time include Grey and Silver [M.1069] and Harmony in Opal and Violet [M.1075]. It is possible that Annabel Lee is actually Harmony in Opal and Violet.

NOTE: By the terms of Freer's will, this work cannot be lent to another venue.

Last updated: 27th February 2021 by Margaret