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Portrait sketches including F.R. Leyland and Whistler

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 122
Date: 1874/1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 305 x 178 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 17
Catalogues: K.101; M.102
Impressions taken from this plate  (17)


head, man standing, portrait, self-portrait.


Whistler's title is not known. Early titles recorded by cataloguers are not very informative, for example:

'Portrait Sketches' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 1
'Portrait Sketches' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2
'Portrait sketches including F. R. Leyland and Whistler' (2010, Whistler Etching Project).

'Portrait sketches including F. R. Leyland and Whistler' is a more full and descriptive title than the title used by Mansfield and Kennedy.

1: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 102).

2: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 101).


At right is the three-quarter length portrait of a man standing with his left hand in his coat pocket. He has dark straight hair parted on the right, a moustache and pointed beard. At top left is another head of a man with similar moustache and beard. At bottom left, upside down, is the head of Whistler. Between these is a slight suggestion of the head of a man, also upside down.


The standing man is Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892). At bottom left is the head of the artist, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). This was not necessarily drawn by Whistler. At top left is another study of Leyland's head, and below it an unidentified head.


It is likely that these studies were drawn at Speke Hall, near Liverpool, when Whistler was staying with the Leylands. Another plate with several studies, this time of the Leyland children, is Sketches of Heads 138. Whistler seems to have used the copper plates as he would a sketchbook, drawing figures in any available space. However, there is the distinct possibility that he did not draw the portrait of himself on this plate.