JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER
1834 LOWELL – 1903 LONDON
HASTINGS/LYME REGIS SKETCHPAD ENTRY
A rare example of Cadet-era juvenilia, representing a series of sketches from his first youthful visit to England with his mother. Although not in the canon of JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER: Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné (Yale, 1995), Dr. Margaret Macdonald opines they’re not in the style of the mature Whistler. The sketchpad reflects a consciousness of the developing young artist that have Whistler hallmarks capturing nature, farm animals and the cursory effect of sunlight on tree leaves and birds flying above the fields, typical Whistler details.
See the solitary farmhand and his donkey, typical of Whistler’s small sketches. The complete sketchpad is available, containing ten drawings signed by the artist. Similar signatures appear at auction suggesting that an imitator in the circle of JAM Whistler appropriated his monicker, perhaps attempting to pass off the copies as an original? Alternately, these pages could represent early juvenilia from Whistler’s pre-Cadet days. If the later, they are early sketches completed as a young man, when Whistler visited England with his mother. Does not appear in the MacDonald catalogue raisonné, “James McNeill Whistler Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours”.
Pencil on Whatman Turkey Mill 1853 paper, the type used by John Singer Sargent and preferred as sketch paper by James McNeill Whistler. Sketchpad is string bound.
Graphite on Whatman Turkey Mill 1853 mould-made paper. String bound sketchbook with signatures to sketch pages. Miriam Stewart, Division of European and American Art Curator of the Collection at Harvard University inspected the binding and indicated that the paper, Turkey Mill 1853, was the standard of quality for the day, used by prominent draughtsmen, like John Singer Sargent, and other top-tier artists.