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The Silk Dress

Impression: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Number: 151
Date: 1875
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 209 x 134 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 18
Catalogues: K.107; M.115
Impressions taken from this plate  (18)


cancelled plate, clothing, dress, fashion, full-length, portrait, woman standing.


Whistler's original title is not known. Only one title is known, as follows:

'The Silk Dress' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 2
'The Silk Dress' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 3

2: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 115).

3: Kennedy 1910 (cat. no. 107).


A full-length portrait of a young woman standing facing left, her head turned to look at the viewer, and her left arm hanging at her side. She wears a small hat with very narrow brim, a dress with close-fitting bodice, slightly puffed sleeves, and a skirt with a broad pleated hem, and an overskirt gathered behind the waist and falling in folds into a train to right.


Possibly Elizabeth Dawson (b. 1840).


This is one of several studies of women in fashionable dress, such as The Velvet Dress (Mrs Leyland) [120], The Little Velvet Dress [119], The Muff [131], Maud, Standing [169].