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"The Blue Butterfly" c.1896

Royal (1) s. with a butterfly; r. (on fascia) (2) Inscr. "THE BLUE BUTTERFLY / MR WHISTLER'S WORK" (on fascia) (3) Watermark: crown and "Regia" (incomplete)
(4) Inscr. by Whistler; v. "Saturday. 1. o'clock. / Dear Mrs Boyt - my wife is very / poorly indeed today - obliged to keep / in her room with severe cold & headache - / and we are sadly disappointed - as she / cannot go to you tonight - / If you will have me however by myself, I will bring you my own poor company - / with many regards from Jimmie / Very sincerely" CRE WHISTLER, James McNeill; (American; 1834-1903) This work is drawn on the back of an undated draft of a letter from Whistler to a Mrs Boyt. The letter was written shortly before the death of his wife, and refers to her ill health. In 1896 Whistler was planning to set up the "Company of the Butterfly". By putting his affairs on a commercial basis he hoped to avoid the day-to-day involvement with clients that came between him and his work. He took the lease of a shop at 2 Hinde Street, Manchester Square, London, on 2 April 1897. The drawing shows a projected shopfront.
Birnie Philip Bequest 1958.