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The Fur Tippet: Miss Lenoir

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 365
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 100 x 69 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 6
Catalogues: K.334; M.330
Impressions taken from this plate  (6)
The Fur Tippet: Miss Lenoir dates from late 1887 or early 1888. The butterfly signature is consistent with these dates. The copper plate is close in size to several plates dating from 1887 and 1888 including figure studies (The Japanese Dress [371], Gypsy Baby [373]) and townscapes (St James's Park [250], Cottage Door [252]and Theatre, Loches [418]).
The Pennells record that Whistler regularly visited Miss Lenoir at the Savoy Theatre in the 1880s:
'She was just about to produce The Mikado, and, sure that he would find her in her office at the Savoy Theatre, he would appear there every evening to talk things over, or would send Mr. Walter Sickert with a message. Whistler delighted in her office, a tiny room lit by one lamp on her desk, with strange effects of light and shadow, but the only record that remains in his work of his many visits is in the two etchings, Savoy Scaffolding and Miss Lenoir, Mrs. D'Oyly Carte's name before her marriage.' 1

1: Pennell 1908, II, p. 37.

Whistler's 'Ten o'clock' Lecture, managed by Helen Lenoir (1852-1913) and Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901), was first given on 20 February 1885. The first performance of The Mikado was less than a month later, on 14 March 1885. However, Whistler's etchings date from at least two years later.
Whistler frequently visited or wrote to Lenoir on various matters regarding money, art and lectures both before and after her marriage to D'Oyly Carte on 12 April 1888. In April 1887, for instance, they were involved in lending Whistler money on the security of several paintings including Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother [y101]. 2 It is likely that The Fur Tippet: Miss Lenoir dates from later in that year or early in the following year. It was first sold by Whistler in February 1888. 3

2: Helen D'Oyly Carte to Whistler, 15 April 1887, GUW #00938

3: Whistler to T. M. McLean, [11 February 1888], GUW #13018.