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

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Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell

Titles

Several possible titles have been suggested:

  • 'Lady Archie' (1884, Whistler) 1
  • 'Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell' (1884, Blackburn). 2
  • 'Portrait de Lady Archibald Campbell' (1885, Société des artistes français). 3
  • 'Arrangement in Black No. 8 – Portrait of the Lady Archibald Campbell' (1887, Whistler). 4
  • 'Arrangement in Schwarz: Lady Archibald Campbell' (1888, Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Munich). 5
  • 'Portrait de Lady Archibald Campbell; - arrangement en noir, no. 7' (1889, Exposition Universelle, Paris). 6
  • 'The fur jacket. Arrangement in black no. 3' (1889, Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters, Amsterdam) 7
  • 'Arrangement in Black: La Dame au Brodequin Jaune' (1892, Goupil). 8
  • 'La Dame au Brodequin Jaune' (1892, Whistler). 9
  • 'The Lady with the Yellow Buskin' (1893, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago). 10
  • 'The Yellow Buskin' (1893, Sixty-third Annual Exhibition, Philadelphia). 11
  • 'Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell' (1980, YMSM). 12
  • 'Arrangement in Black (The Lady in the Yellow Buskin)' (2018, Philadelphia Museum of Art). 13

Whistler said (in a letter that may not have been sent to the sitter) that he dropped the name of Lady Archibald from the title because the Duke and the family did not approve of the portrait:

'With the sensitiveness of the gentle artist, upon the verdict of the Duke, if you remember, I immediately withdrew your name, and the picture was exhibited under the title of "Le Brodequin jaune" in Paris. Under this name, and not as the Portrait of the Lady Archibald Campbell, it brought the painter his red Ribbon. - his gold medal in Münich [sic], and other distinctions - Finally under the Alias of the "Yellow Buskin" it was bought by the Academy of Philadelphia for twelve hundred guineas.' 14

According to Duret, Whistler changed the title 'd'après la chaussure du pied en mouvement.' 15

'Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell' is the preferred title, despite the museum preferring to translate it as 'Arrangement in Black (The Lady in the Yellow Buskin)'.

The 'Arrangements in Black' are inconsistently numbered, roughly as follows:

  • Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland [YMSM 097] was the first of Whistler's 'Arrangements in Black'.
  • In the Pall Mall exhibition of 1874 Arrangement in Black, No. 2: Portrait of Mrs Louis Huth [YMSM 125]) was exhibited specifically as 'No. 2' in the series.
  • A photograph of Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain [YMSM 187] was mistakenly labelled by Whistler as 'Arrangement in Black, No. 2', but it was exhibited several times as 'Arrangement in Black, No. 3'.
  • However, Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket [YMSM 181] was exhibited as 'Arrangement in Black, No. 3', in 1888-1889, and in a drawing, Whistler's portrait of Lady Meux (Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux [YMSM 228]) was also given that title.
  • No painting seems to have been listed or exhibited as 'Arrangement in Black, No. 4'.
  • Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder [YMSM 203] and Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell [YMSM 242] were both called at different times 'Arrangement in Black, No. 5' or 'Arrangement in Black, No. 7' (the latter as 'arrangement en noir, no. 7').
  • A portrait of Maud Franklin (1857-1939) (Harmony in Black and Red [YMSM 236]) was the only painting called 'Arrangement in Black, No. 6'.
  • The eighth in the series was Arrangement in Black, No. 8: Portrait of Mrs Cassatt [YMSM 250].
  • Number 9 has not been identified.
  • There was no 'Arrangement in Black, No. 10', but there was a Harmony in Black, No. 10 [YMSM 357], which may have been intended as part of the series.

Description


                    Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell, Philadelphia Museum of Art

A full length portrait of a woman in vertical format. She stands in profile to left, looking back towards the viewer. She wears a dark blue-grey costume and brown fur cape, and is pulling on yellow gloves. She stands on a beige floor that shades into a black background. She wears a yellow-tan high heeled shoe, and appears to be about to step away.

Sitter


                    Janey Sevilla (née Callander), Lady Archibald Campbell, 1862, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG Ax59764
Janey Sevilla (née Callander), Lady Archibald Campbell, 1862, photograph, National Portrait Gallery, NPG Ax59764

Janey Sevilla Campbell (Lady Archibald Campbell) (ca 1846-d.1923) .

This was the third full-length portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell by Whistler, and the only one to be completed and to survive (see Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell in Court Dress [YMSM 240], The Grey Lady: Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell [YMSM 241]).

In the 1880s Lady Archie became involved with dress revival and reform through her friendship with Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect, designer and close friend of Whistler (in 1884, the year Lady Archie and Godwin began their collaboration, Godwin published Dress and its Relation to Health and Climate).

Comments

George Moore (1852-1933) wrote that 'the likeness is vague and shadowy; she is only representative of her class. … a lady du grand monde.' 16

The costume worn by Lady Archibald Campbell have been discussed in detail by Aileen Ribeiro, Helen M. Burnham and Anna Gruetzner Robins, among others; Ribeiro described the 'tailored woolen costume, the skirt wrapping and glossy furs [as] very much a fad of the late nineteenth century'. 17 Burnham discusses the costume further:

'The skirt’s weighty wool, loosely pleated style, short hemline, and tie-back over the hips are features of the “tailor-made.” This type of clothing, incorporating details from men’s apparel, has its origins in the riding habits created for wealthy ladies by men’s tailors from the seventeenth century on and would have been worn primarily by upper- and upper-middle class women in the 1880s. The fur cape and toque, which appear to be of beaver or sable, were also adapted from men’s coachwear as jaunty overgarments for everyday use. The tailor-made enables the mobility suggested by her kinetic pose, while the accessories – particularly the historicizing "brodequin jaune" with its Louis XV heel and archaic name – link Lady Archie to the vanguard of fashion.' 18

Anna Robins comments that the portrait was 'a modern image of a modern woman':

'If he had painted his portraits a decade later his sitters might have been New Women but in the 1880s this category was still in its infancy. Although none of these portraits depict their subjects in the public realm, they signal them as New Women through costume, deportment and occupation. Thus they serve both as portraits of individuals and as a collective image of the New Woman.' 19

Notes:

1: [20/25 May 1884], GUW #09451.

2: Blackburn 1884 [more] , p. 41.

3: Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, 103rd exhibition, Salon de la Société des artistes français, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1885 (cat. no. 2459).

4: Whistler to George William Agnew (1852-1941), [16/18 April 1887], GUW #03983.

5: III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1888.

6: Exposition Universelle, Champs de Mars, Paris, 1889, British section (cat. no. 165).

7: Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters, Amsterdam, 1889 (cat. no. 469).

8: Nocturnes, Marines & Chevalet Pieces, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892 (cat. no. 41).

9: Whistler to D.C. Thomson, 11 May [1892], GUW #08204.

10: World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893 (cat. no. 758).

11: Sixty-third Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1893 (cat. no. 35).

12: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 242).

13: Philadelphia Museum of Art website at http://www.philamuseum.org.

14: [19 September 1895], GUW #00521; see also GUW #00520, and Lady Archie's reply, 21 September 1895, GUW #00522.

15: Duret 1904 [more] , pp. 95-99, 102.

16: Moore 1893 [more] , pp. 8-9.

17: Ribeiro, Aileen, 'Fashion and Whistler', in MacDonald 2003 [more] , pp. 34-35. See also Robins 2007 [more] , pp. 66-70, 84-85, 161.

18: Susan Grace Galassi with Helen M. Burnham, 'Lady Henry Bruce Meux and Lady Archibald Campbell', in MacDonald 2003 [more] , pp. 178-83, at pp. 180, 182.

19: Robins 2007 [more] , pp. 66-70, 84-85, 161.

Last updated: 8th June 2021 by Margaret