Reading by Lamplight
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||161 x 120 mm|
|Signed:||'J. Whistler' at lower right|
|No. of States:||3|
|Catalogues:||K.32; M.30; T.24; W.25|
|Impressions taken from this plate (40)|
'La dame lisant' (1859, Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910)). 3
'Reading by lamplight' (1872, British Museum). 4
'Reading by Lamplight' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 5
'Mrs. Haden, reading' (1881, Union League Club). 6
'Reading by Lamp-light' (1900, Caxton Club). 7
However, Thomas's title 'Reading by Lamplight' has become generally accepted.
J.McN. Whistler, Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room y034,
Freer Gallery of Art.
F.S. Haden, A Lady Reading, 1858, etching and drypoint,
British Museum 1910,0421.3.
In Haden's second state the design of the dress was clearer: the sleeve was edged with lace, and she was wearing a bead necklace, possibly pearls. Behind the lamp and to right of it was a curtain. In Haden's final, third state, the upturned bowl is removed and the lamp is standing on the table. The drypoint results in a rich, soft black in the background shadows and the dress, but the actual cross-hatching in the shadows is much more open. 9
9: Schneiderman, Richard S, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Sir Francis Seymour Haden, London, 1983 (cat. no. 10); Harrington, Henry Nazeby, The Engraved Work of Sir Francis Seymour Haden, P.R.E.: an illustrated and descriptive catalogue, Liverpool, 1910 (cat. no. 9).
British Museum,1937,0612.11 . 10
Another etched portrait of Deborah by Seymour Haden, reproduced above, was done about the same time, and shows her head and shoulder in profile.
Lochnan suggests that Haden and Whistler were exploring ideas for a composition to be developed for submission to the Paris Salon, and that such subjects might have been influenced by, and discussed with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), 11 whose portrait The Two Sisters (oil, 1859), they would have known. 12
A small realist still-life in oil by Fantin-Latour of a White cup and saucer, painted in 1864, was owned by their mutual friend Elizabeth Ruth Edwards (ca 1833- d.1907) and is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. 13
10: Harrington 1910 (cat. no. 8 trial B); Schneiderman 1983 (cat. no. 13.II).
11: Lochnan 1984[more], p. 65.
12: Saint Louis Art Museum Acc. No. 8:1937; Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog. Fantin-Latour, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 1983, cat. no. 20.
13: Acc. No. 1016, website at http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk (accessed 2012).
14: Kennedy 1910[more], Appendix II.
British Museum 1937,0612.2. 15
15: Schneiderman 1983 (cat. no. 7.I).