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

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Note in Green: Wortley


Several small variations in title are known:

  • 'Wortley: note in green' (1884, Dowdeswell). 1
  • 'Note en vert: Le Village de Wortley' (1887, Petit). 2
  • 'Note in Green: Wortley' (1980, YMSM) 3
  • 'Wortley; Note in Green' (2019, Freer Gallery of Art). 4

In 1884, an unidentified newspaper columnist objected to the title: 'I soon got tired of guessing Whistler’s puzzles, for I am an ordinary Philistine, and cannot see why a grass field should be dignified with the name of a "note in green".' 5

'Note in Green: Wortley' is the preferred title, consistent with other works.


                    Note in Green: Wortley , Freer Gallery of Art
Note in Green: Wortley , Freer Gallery of Art

A landscape in horizontal format. A green field leads up a hill to trees surrounding a sprawling house, possibly a farm-house, with a narrow track curving into the distance at right.


The view is probably of Wortley, six miles south-west of Barnsley, Yorkshire, the seat of Lord Wharncliffe. Whistler could have known the family through one of his friends, Archibald James Stuart-Wortley (1849-1905), grandson of the first Baron and first president of the SPP in 1891. Whistler also painted a portrait of a house-guest at Wortley, Gay Paget in the garden of Wortley Hall, Yorkshire [M.0854].


1: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 34).

2: Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1887 (cat. no. 163).

3: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 303).

4: Freer Gallery of Art website.

5: Anon., unknown newspaper, 1884; press cutting in GUL Whistler PC6, p. 53.

Last updated: 31st December 2020 by Margaret