The Music Room

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 39
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 147 x 217 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 54
Catalogues: K.33; M.31; T.22; W.26
Impressions taken from this plate  (54)


clothing, dress, interior, lamp, man seated, music, piano, portrait, reading, woman seated.


In various languages, with or without punctuation, the title has been more or less the same, for example:

'The Music-Room' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 1
'Kammermusik' (1895, Leipzig). 2
'La Salle de Musique. - (The Music Room)' (1905, Paris). 3
'The Music Room' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 4

Leaving out the unnecessary hyphen, the accepted title is 'The Music Room'.

1: Thomas 1874 (cat. no. 22).

2: Leipzig 1895 (cat. no. 811).

3: Paris Mem. 1905.

4: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 33).


On the left is Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), sitting in an armchair reading a newspaper, with his legs stretched out to left. In the middle is a round table covered with a square cloth, lit by a tall table-lamp with an asymmetrical shade. Behind this sits James Reeves Traer (ca 1834- d.1867) reading, and leaning his book on the table. At front right, Deborah Delano Haden (1825-1908) sits facing left, wearing a dark dress with white collar and cuffs, and holding a book close to her eyes in order to read. At back left there is a fireplace, with a picture propped against it and ornaments on the mantelpiece. To right of the fireplace (and behind Haden) there is a light area - possibly a window covered with a blind. Behind Traer is a very dark, shadowed area, and behind Deborah Haden, a lighter, shadowed wall or screen.


From left to right, Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910); James Reeves Traer (ca 1834- d.1867) and Deborah Delano Haden (1825-1908). Whistler inscribed one impression 'my friend Traer -' which might mean he gave it to Traer but might just indicate that the etching showed Traer (Graphic with a link to impression #K0330210).

Impression: K0320204

Whistler etched another portrait of his half-sister, this time in profile to right, in Reading by Lamplight [37] (reproduced above). It also shows her looking closely at a book; she was very short-sighted, and eventually went blind.

A self-portrait etched by Haden is reproduced below.
Comparative image
F.S. Haden, Portrait of Francis Seymour Haden No. 2 (while etching),
British Museum 1910,0421.225. 5

5: Schneiderman, R.S., A Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Sir F. S. Haden, London 1983 ( 40.II); Harrington, H. N., The Engraved Work of Sir Francis Seymour Haden, P.R.E., Liverpool 1910 (cat. no. 41 trial B).


The Haden's house in Sloane Street, London. Whistler also painted the room in At the Piano [y024] and Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room [y034], reproduced below.
Comparative image
Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room [y034], oil,
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.