Florence Leyland

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 136
Date: 1874
Medium: drypoint
Size: 215 x 140 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: ' "I am Flo" ' at right (6)
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 11
Known impressions: 43
Catalogues: K.110; M.109; T.79; W.96
Impressions taken from this plate  (43)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.


It was first exhibited in Whistler's one-man show in London in 1874. 13 An American critic, correspondent of the Tribune, wrote: 'the portraits of the young Misses Layland [sic] are brilliant examples of Mr. Whistler's power.' 14 One of the portraits of the Leyland girls was praised by a critic: 'The portrait of the "Little Girl" (36), by the same process [drypoint], has remarkable freedom of pose and brightness of expression.' 15 An impression was also exhibited in 1874 in Liverpool and other cities during a touring show of the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100302). 16

A few years later, in 1881, Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent an impression to the Union League Club in New York. 17 An impression was also shown at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888, lent by Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) (probably Graphic with a link to impression #K1100102). 18 Another was lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100502). 19

Impressions also appeared in several print dealers' shows, at Obach & Co. in London in 1903; in New York, at H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 and in two 1903 shows, and with Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. in 1904. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought works from the 1898 show (Graphic with a link to impression #K1110203, Graphic with a link to impression #K1100702). 20

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent his impression to the Whistler Memorial show in Boston in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100204). Lenders were generous in loans to exhibitions big and small. Three different states were shown at the comprehensive Grolier Club show in New York in 1904, and impressions were also shown at the Whistler Memorial Exhibitions in London (lent by King Edward VII) and Paris in 1905. 21

13: London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 35).

14: 'Notes from London', 13 June 1874, from an unidentified press-cutting, GUL PC1/61.

15: 'Mr Whistler's Etchings', The Builder, 5 July 1874 (GUL PC1/73).

16: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 481).

17: New York 1881 (cat. no. 126).

18: Glasgow 1888 (cat. no. 2552-4)

19: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 91).

20: New York 1898 (cat. no. 91); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

21: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 96).


James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) was among the earliest known buyers, and his impression was bought at auction in 1876 by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), and sold in 1898 through H. Wunderlich & Co. to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100302). At the same time Freer bought other - both earlier and later - impressions from the Haden collection (Graphic with a link to impression #K1110203, Graphic with a link to impression #K1100702). Freer had already - in 1889 - bought a later impression from Keppel & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100503) and, with an obsessive desire for completeness, bought a later state in 1905 from Thomas Way (1837-1915) in London (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100602).
In 1877 Whistler had sold several impressions for £6.6.0 each, one being to the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. 22 This impression was presumably sold with the rest of the Royal Collection through Agnew's and Wunderlich's in 1906; by 1909 it was with F. Keppel & Co. in New York 23 but there the trail stops.

22: 19-22 October 1877, GUW #12736.

23: New York 1909 (cat. no. 61).

Whistler sold another to J. Hogarth & Sons on 22 October 1877, noting it down as 'Flo - No. 6 x' 24 This matches the coded annotation, 'Florence Leyland - / 6 x ' written by Whistler on an early state of the drypoint acquired by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100301); it shows that Avery was buying from London print dealers as well as from the artist. Another impression, possibly annotated with the number '11-' by Whistler, was bought by William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), about the same date (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100304).

24: 22-27 October [1877], GUW #12737.

At £6.6.0 and £7.7.0 Whistler also sold several impressions to or through Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877 - he actually mentions selling four on 24 November. 25

At auction, in the sale of the collection of John W. Wilson (dates unknown) in 1887 (lot 411) 'Eleanor Leland' [sic] 'with indication of hoop on the left, fine impression on India paper' was bought by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892) for £6.0.0, a good price reflecting the quality of the impression, which is reproduced below. 26

25: 12 October-5 November [1877], #12735; 24 November-8 December [1877], #12742.

26: Sotheby's, 23 April 1887 (lot 411).

Impression: K1100704
Three impressions from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) (probably Graphic with a link to impression #K1100202, Graphic with a link to impression #K1100704 and Graphic with a link to impression #K1100802) were sold in 1892, and were bought by print dealers for good prices. 27 Lot 149 was described as a 'trial proof' and bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £8.8.0; lots 150 and 151 'with autograph signature' were bought by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £7.5.0 and £6.15.0 respectively (one of these was probably Graphic with a link to impression #K1100802). Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) wrote to another print dealer, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) in New York:

27: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 149-151).

'I suppose you know, too, of the death of Mr Hutchinson, and the sale of his etchings - We hear the sale was a great success - all the papers sent to us say the prices were quite exceptional -
I saw our old friend Mr Keppel was buying largely - but I did not see your name - ' 28

28: [19 March 1892], GUW #09676.

In the same year, at the William Richard Drake (1817-1890) sale, two impressions of 'Flo' achieved much lower prices, being bought by Dunthorne for £1.4.0 and Deprez for £3.0.0. One of these may have been the impression acquired by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), which passed to the Art Institute of Chicago (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100502). 29 The Art Institute also benefitted from the generosity of John Henry Wrenn (1841-1911) and his wife, who bequeathed an an impression of the first state, originally owned by the Glasgow collector Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) and probably sold through Wunderlich's (Graphic with a link to impression #K1110102).

In Germany, Hermann Heinrich Meier (1845-1905) left an impression to be given to the Kunsthalle Bremen after his wife's death, and it was received there in 1910 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100z10). However, a sad fate befell an impression acquired by the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, 1904, which was destroyed in a fire after a bombing raid in 1944 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1100z09).

29: Christie’s, 8-9 March 1892 (lots 302, 303).