Trixie (Mrs Beatrice Whistler)

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 470
Date: 1892/1894
Medium: drypoint
Size: 85 x 52 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.441; M.438
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


portrait, woman, woman seated.


Variations on the title are as follows:

'Trixie' (1892/1896, Whistler). 2
'Trixie / (Mrs Whistler)' (1890s, unknown). 3
'Mrs Whibley' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)) 4
'Trixie' (Mrs Beatrice Whistler) (2011, Whistler Etchings Project).

This is a portrait of Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896), not (as Mansfield suggested), Ethel Whibley (1861-1920). 'Trixie', was the name by which she was known to friends and family after her marriage to Whistler. The title 'Trixie' (Mrs Beatrice Whistler) has been chosen in order to eliminate any confusion.

2: Written on Graphic with a link to impression #K4410103.

3: Written on Graphic with a link to impression #K4410201.

4: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 438).


A woman sits facing the viewer, leaning with her elbow on a table to left, with her chin resting on her hand. Her hair is dark, with a deep fringe cut straight just above her eyes. She is shown from her head to her hips. Her dress has sleeves with slightly puffed shoulders.


Comparative image
Beatrice (Mrs Godwin, Mrs Whistler) 1880s,
Photograph, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections.
This is a portrait of Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896). Although christened Beatrice she later often signed herself 'Beatrix' and Whistler usually called her 'Trixie', 'Trix' or 'Chinkie'. She exhibited under the name 'Rix Birnie'. The self-portrait reproduced below under the title Portrait of Rix Birnie shows the influence of Whistler, and perhaps also of Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), on her drawing style, where she uses broad patches of parallel shading to indicate masses, structure and shadows.
Comparative imageBeatrice Whistler, Portrait of Rix Birnie, etching, 1888/1892.
The Hunterian, GLAHA 50211.
Whistler's portrait was mistakenly identified as 'Mrs Whibley', Beatrice's younger sister, Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) and by Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) (who described it as 'A delicate sketch of one of Mrs Whistler's sisters'). 5

5: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 438); Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 441).

Beatrice's younger sister, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), was Whistler's executrix. Many of the works in the estate were listed, probably in consultation with her, by Harold Wright (1885-1961). On one impression of this drypoint he added the information: 'This was formerly catalogued as "Mrs Whibley, sister of Mrs Whistler"'. Wright then identified the sitter accurately as 'Mrs Whistler' (Graphic with a link to impression #K4410105).


The pose is slightly similar to two drawings that may show Beatrice, Portrait of a woman [m1059], and Portrait of a woman [m1060], both of which date from 1885 when she was married to E. W. Godwin. It is also like that in a much later lithograph, La Belle Dame paresseuse [c098], which shows her in 1894, when she was first stricken with the cancer that was to cause her death two years later.