Biography of James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903 is in Painters.

On 11 Jul 1834 James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born to George Washington Whistler (age 34) and Anna McNeill (age 29) at Lowell.

On 07 Apr 1849 [his father] George Washington Whistler (age 48) died.

In the 1860s and 1870s James Anderson Rose (age 50) collected the works of Frederick Sandys (age 30) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 25).

PAINTINGS/SANDYS/Susanna_Rose.png PAINTINGS/SANDYS/Emily_Winter_Rose.jpg PAINTINGS/SANDYS/Frederick_Sandys.jpg

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Wapping.jpg1860 to 1864. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 25). Drawing of Joanna Hiffernan (age 17).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/White_Girl1.jpg1861 to 1863. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 26). "Symphony in White, No. 1" aka "The White Girl". Model Joanna Hiffernan (age 18).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Old_Westminster.jpg1861 to 1863. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 26). "The Last of Old Westminster".

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Hiffernan_1861.jpg1861. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 26). Drawing of Joanna Hiffernan (age 18).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/The_Princess.jpgBetween 1863 and 1865. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 28). "Rose and Silver: The Princess from the Land of Porcelain". Frequently described as "The Princess from the Land of Porcelain". Model Christine Spartali Countess d'Anvers (age 16) sister of Marie Spartali aka Stilman (age 18).

Christine Spartali Countess d'Anvers: On 19 May 1846 she was born to Michael Greek Consul General and Euphrosyne Varsini. In Dec 1868 Eduard Joseph Cahen d'Anvers Marquis de Torre-Alfina (age 36) and Christine Spartali Countess d'Anvers (age 22) were married.

Letters of James McNeill Whistler 1863. 16 Mar 1863 or 23 Mar 1863. 7a Queens Road West, Chelsea. Monday - / March

Dear Rose (age 43) -

Any news about "my house" - . Is it all right? am I wanted to take any step? or will it all be settled without me? Are you going to make him do anything at all to the house and can I go in shortly when the agreement is made

I have been knocked up for a couple of days with rheumatism but hope to get to work again tomorrow - I was very sorry not to see you the other day at Rosetti's (age 34) -

Will you drop me a line about the house.

With many thanks

Ever Yours

J Whistler (age 28)


Letters of James McNeill Whistler 1863. 13 May 1863. 7 Lindsey Row Battersea Bridge Old Chelsea. Wednesday

Dear Rossetti (age 35) -

Note D. come and breakfast with me on Sunday next at half past eleven - to meet Gambart (age 48) and perhaps Steevens (age 40) -

Ever yours

J Whistler (age 28)

Letters of James McNeill Whistler 1863. 31 May 1863. 7 Lindsey Row Old Chelsea. Sunday

Dear Sandys (age 34) -

You have done the proper thing thoroughly and I only wish I could accept your jolly invitation and do the yachting and eat the dinner which I have no doubt will be stunning -

but it's of no use - I must stick to a couple of pictures, commissions! for I am just about cleaned out - and tin will be forked over on their completion -

Your "Vivien" is splendid in tone and colour especially the head - of course it is badly hung -

One of my pictures [is] refused and one put on the floor - You will perhaps be pleased to hear that the "White Girl" is a real success in Paris - and already I have had a letter to know if it may be possessed for gold! -

Adieu mon cher - Remember me to Tom Geckyl (age 35) -

Jo (age 20) says many things aimables - and if ever I lent her to anyone to paint, it should certainly be to you mon ami -

Adieu again - and success to the trip -

Ever yours,

J. Whistler (age 28)


Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 09 Dec 1863. 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

My dear Leathart (age 43),

The picture of Whistler's (age 29) which I mentioned was the unfinished Chinese one, since bought by Gambart (age 49) & which was, as I thought, the one about which you wished to know.

The Thames picture is still unsold, and on enquiring of Whistler (age 29) I find its price is 300 guineas. It is the noblest of all the pictures he has done hitherto, and is the one for your collection.

regards Legros' works, I yesterday saw for the first time a picture he is doing now, of Hamlet in his mother's chamber, where he kills Polonius, about 20 inches by 15 I suppose in size, it may be rather more, and a truly admirable work, the finest he has done in London as yet. He intends to ask 45 guineas for it. It is so very cheap proportionately to the other that I am induced to mention it to you, since it is a work which will stand the proximity of anything whatever, being most full & luminous in colour, though, like all his work, low in tone.

With kind remembrances to Mrs. Leathart[8].

I remain my dear Leathart

Yours ever truly

D G Rossetti (age 35)

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/White_Girl2.jpgAround Dec 1864. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 30). "Symphony in White, No. 2" aka The Little White Girl. Model Joanna Hiffernan (age 21).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/White_Girl3.jpg1865 to 1867. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 30). "Symphony in White, No. 3". Model Joanna Hiffernan (age 22).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Blue_Girl.jpg1872 to 1874. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 37). "Blue Girl". Model Connie Gilchrist (age 6).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Helen_Ogilvy.jpg1872 to 1873. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 37). Portrait of Helen Huth nee Ogilvy (age 34) known as "Arrangement in Black, No. 2".

Helen Huth nee Ogilvy: In Sep 1837 she was born to Thomas Ogilvy of Corrimony in Inverness-shire. On 11 Apr 1855 Louis Huth (age 34) and Helen Huth nee Ogilvy (age 17) were married.

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Harmony_Yellow_Gold.jpgAround 1873. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 38). "Harmony in Yellow and Gold". Model Connie Gilchrist (age 7) performing her skipping rope stage act.

In 1878 James Anderson Rose (age 58) represented James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 43) in his libel trial against John Ruskin (age 58) for having described his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket as "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Whistler won the case and was awarded one farthing, the smallest coin, to Whistler. The court costs were divided between the two. Ruskin's were paid for by a public subscription organised by the Fine Art Society. Whistler was declared bankrupt.


On 06 May 1879 James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 44) was declared insolvent following the Ruskin libel trial.

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Lady_Meux.jpg1881. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 46). Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Valerie Langdon Lady Meux (age 28).

Valerie Langdon Lady Meux: On 27 Feb 1852 she was born at Crockernwell, Devon. On 27 Oct 1878 Henry Bruce Meux 3rd Baronet (age 22) and Valerie Langdon Lady Meux (age 26) were married. She by marriage Lady Meux of Theobald's Park in Hertfordshire. On 20 Dec 1910 Valerie Langdon Lady Meux (age 58) died. She left her estate, including Theobalds House, to Hedworth Lambton aka Meux (age 54).

PAINTINGS/WHISTLER/Lady_Meux_2.jpg1881. James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 46). Arrangement in Black, No. 5: Portrait of Valerie Langdon Lady Meux (age 28).

On 31 Jan 1881 [his mother] Anna McNeill (age 76) died at 43 St Mary's Terrace. She was buried at Hastings Cemetery.

Letters of James McNeill Whistler 1863. UPTON & BRITTON, SOLICITORS. 51, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, LONDON, W. C.

5th July 1889.


As you have taken no notice of our last letter to you of the 31st May last we beg to inform you that unless we hear from you by Wednesday next that you are prepared to come to some amicable arrangement with our Client Sir Henry Meux (age 33) regarding the unfinished Portrait of Lady Meux (age 37) [Probably Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs] for which you have been paid our instructions are to commence legal proceedings against you without further Notice.

Yours faithfully.

Upton & Britton

Mr. J. Mc. Whistler (age 54)

13. Tite Street, Chelsea.


PAINTINGS/ZORN/Walter_Rathbone.jpg1897. Anders Zorn (age 36). Portrait of Mrs Walter Rathbone Bacon aka Virginia Purdy Barker (age 34). In 1917 American Art News described the painting as "the finest woman's portrait the Swedish modern master ever produced." When exhibited in 1897 at the Paris Salon it was admired by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 62) and John Singer Sargent (age 40).

Virginia Purdy Barker: On 20 Feb 1862 she was born to Smith Barker (age 26) and Catherine Vanderbilt (age 25). On 16 Feb 1882 Walter Rathbone Bacon (age 36) and Virginia Purdy Barker (age 19) were married at Bordeaux. There was no issue from the marriage. On 07 Apr 1919 Virginia Purdy Barker (age 57) died.

On 17 Jul 1903 James Abbott McNeill Whistler (age 69) died.

Letters of James McNeill Whistler 1863. 7A Queens Road West - Chelsea - Friday

Dear Rose -

Many thanks for all that [you] have done and are so kindly doing for me - I shall only be too glad to see about what etchings I may have for exhibition by Thursday next - Tomorrow though I can't have the pleasure of dining with you, as I am finishing The White Girl for the Salon in Paris and it ought to go off on Monday - so that I should be painting at it until late in the evening - I would very much like you to see it before I send it - If you were by any chance in Rosetti's neighborhood tomorrow morning and could drop in and have a peep -

Shall I send the Brittany Sea piece to the 'Artists & Amateurs' or would it be too large?

Ever Yours

J Whistler

Ancestors of James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Father: George Washington Whistler

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

GrandFather: Charles Daniel McNeill

Mother: Anna McNeill

Great x 1 Grandfather: Zephaniah Kingsley Senior

GrandMother: Martha Kingsley

Great x 1 Grandmother: Isabella Johnston