It was exhibited in Whistler's one-man show 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 44). After the show, Wickham Flower (1835-1904), London, offered £160 for An Orange Note: Sweet Shop [YMSM 264], Note in Blue and Opal: The Sun Cloud [YMSM 271] and this painting, which alone was priced 80 guineas in the Dowdeswell catalogue. Whistler therefore suggested £160 for Note in Blue and Opal: The Sun Cloud [YMSM 271] and An Orange Note: Sweet Shop [YMSM 264] alone. 1
In fact Flower did not take it, and it was acquired by H. S. Theobald, who was almost certainly the collector described by Whistler as having bought a number of paintings after the exhibition. He wrote to Walter Dowdeswell, 'you must arrange with the man who bought the lot that remained over after the exhibition of the "Flesh color & grey", to let his collection go with me to America.' 3 However, it did not go to America until it was bought by C. L. Freer in August 1902, for $750.
The Graphic on 24 May 1884 praised, among other works, Whistler's 'views of "Old Chelsea Church" … Painted with obvious ease and little labour, they leave no sense of incompleteness, and they are remarkable besides for their perfect harmony of low-toned colour.' Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) commended it among works distinguished by their 'Beauty of handling and high finish.' 4
By the terms of C. L. Freer's bequest to the Freer Gallery of Art, the painting cannot be lent.
4: ‘An Enthusiast’, [Sickert, W. R.], 'Mr Whistler and His Art', The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, vol. 5, 1 June 1884, pp. 199-201.
Last updated: 14th December 2020 by Margaret