F. R. Leyland

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 121
Date: 1874/1875
Medium: etching, drypoint and open bite
Size: 304 x 177 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 20
Catalogues: K.102; M.103; W.93
Impressions taken from this plate  (20)
The style of the butterfly monogram suggests a date between 1874 and 1875, and probably closer to 1875. It is similar to the monogram on The Little Forge, Liverpool [141]. This is rather later than has usually been suggested, but is corroborated by the similarities between the portrait and that of Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 2 [159], which has a similar composition and technique.
Whistler was visiting Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892) and Frances Leyland (1834-1910) in Speke Hall, near Liverpool, early in 1875 and wrote to William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916): 'The etchings and drypoints are getting on famously - I have quite got back into my old delight in the work and think I shall have some pretty things to show you soon -' 1

1: Whistler to Alexander, 1 February 1875, GUW #07565.

By then he may have been working on five etchings of Speke and the vicinity: Speke Hall [140], Speke Shore [139] and The Dam Wood [133], and, perhaps in Liverpool, Shipbuilder's Yard, Liverpool [142] and The Little Forge, Liverpool [141]. While there he received the recent catalogue by Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876) of Whistler's etchings, and acknowledged it 'with my kindest thanks'. 2 It is most likely that the portrait of Leyland dates from this visit. Whistler's relations with F. R. Leyland ceased in 1876, after their dispute over payment for Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room [y178].

2: Thomas 1874; Whistler to J. A. Rose, [16 February 1875], GUW #11449.