Tillie: A Model

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 113
Date: 1873
Medium: drypoint
Size: 235 x 160 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 6
Catalogues: K.117; M.116; W.102
Impressions taken from this plate  (6)


cancelled plate, model, nude, portrait, woman.


Variations on the title are as follows:

'Tillie Gilchrist' (1870s, possibly Whistler). 1
'Nude figure. "Tillie"' (1877, Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890)). 2
'Tillie Gilchrist (A model)' (1881, Union League Club). 3
'Tillie: A Model' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 4
'Tillie' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5
'Tillie: A Model' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 6

Whistler's original title appears to have been 'Tillie Gilchrist', rather than the variations suggested by later cataloguers.

1: Written in one hand, but reinforced in another hand, on Graphic with a link to impression #K1170101.

2: Howell to Whistler, [6-15 November 1877], GUW #02178.

3: New York 1881 (cat. no. 122).

4: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 102).

5: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 116).

6: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 117).


A slim nude woman stands in profile to left, stooping forward, with her right hand leaning on her leg, above the knee, and her left hand concealed between her legs. Her hair is pulled back behind her head into a rough knot or chignon. Only the top of her left foot is drawn. There is shading in the background.


Possibly Matilda Gilchrist (b. 1828 or 1829). 'Tillie Gilchrist' was originally written on an impression, probably in Whistler's writing, but reinforced in another hand (Graphic with a link to impression #K1170101). Mansfield commented 'She was a popular model at the time'. 7

7: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 116).


Comparative image
Study for 'Tillie: A Model' [m0369], chalk, 1870/1873,
The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (46030)
The pose was one which Whistler repeatedly drew and painted. Tillie [m0367], Study of a Nude [m0368], Study for 'Tillie: A Model' [m0369] (reproduced above) and Tillie: Study in Pink and Mauve [m0370] may be studies for this drypoint or for the oil paintings, The White Symphony: Three Girls [y087] (reproduced below) and The Three Girls [y088].
Comparative image
The White Symphony: Three Girls [y087], oil, 1867,
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
However, the drypoint is clearly a finished work and was signed and sold as such.