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Lady in an armchair

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 91
Date: 1861
Medium: drypoint
Size: 230 x 153 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: '1861.' at lower right
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 19
Catalogues: K.79; M.80
Impressions taken from this plate  (19)


cancelled plate, interior, woman seated, portrait.


Whistler's original title is not known. There are two published titles, with a slight difference in punctuation:

'Lady in an Armchair' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)).
'Lady in an Arm-Chair (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 1

1: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 80); Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 79).

Mansfield's version of the title has been accepted, in modified form, as Lady in an armchair.


A half-length portrait of an elderly lady seated in an armchair, facing slightly to the right, with her right hand resting upon her lap. She has a simple white bonnet over dark hair with a central parting. She wears a light-coloured, round-necked blouse under a jacket or coat that is gathered in tightly at the waist, with narrow reveres and wide three-quarter length sleeves that reveal the sleeves of the blouse underneath.


Not identified. The lady is not Whistler's mother who had visited London in August 1860 but not in 1861. This may have been an elderly relative of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), but no such subject is mentioned in extant documents.


Whistler made numerous studies or portraits of middle-aged and elderly women, i.e. La Mère Gérard 024, La Rétameuse 026, La Vieille aux Loques 027, Whistler's Mother 103.