Woman sleeping in a chair

Impression: Whistler Etchings Project
Whistler Etchings Project
Number: 401
Date: 1888/1892
Medium: drypoint
Size: 102 x 68 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 1
Catalogues: K.-; M.-; T.-; W.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (1)


fashion, portrait, sleep, woman seated.


Whistler's original title is not known. Titles are as follows:

'Head of a girl' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 1
'Woman sleeping in a chair' (2011, Whistler Etching Project).

The descriptive title, 'Head of a girl', may have been suggested by Miss Birnie Philip. The title may have had Whistler's approval because she sorted his copper plates at his request in 1901, and was his executrix. However, it might have been written later, when the plates were listed after Whistler's death in 1903, or when they were given to the University of Glasgow in 1935, or by later cataloguers in the Hunterian Art Gallery. Woman sleeping in a chair' is a more precise title since the sitter - or sleeper - is clearly not a girl.

1: Note on envelope containing copper plate, Hunterian Art Gallery.


A study of a young women, her head in profile to right, asleep.


Comparative image

Beatrice Whistler, photograph,
Special Collections, Glasgow University Library.
This could be Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) - a photograph of her is reproduced above - or one of Whistler's in-laws, such as Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), as drawn by Whistler a few years later in the lithograph reproduced below.
Comparative image
La Belle Dame Endormie, lithograph, 1894,
The Hunterian, Glasgow (49594).


Why there are no extant prints of this drypoint is not clear. One possibility is that, if it does show Beatrice Whistler, he destroyed the images after her death in 1896.