Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland


Artist: James McNeill Whistler (United States, 1834-1903)
Sitter: Frederick Richards Leyland (1831 - 1892)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 218.5 x 119.4 cm (86 x 47 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

portrait, United States

To 1905
William Marchant & Co., London, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from William Marchant & Co., through Mr. R. A. Canfield, in May 1905 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 15b, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
William Marchant & Co. (C.L. Freer source)


Whistler derived the somber palette and tall, narrow format of this painting of his first important patron from portraits by the Spanish court painter Diego Velázquez (1599¬–1660). Whistler was eager both to please Leyland and to fulfill his own artistic ambition with this portrait, the first in a series of Arrangements in Black. Leyland described the protracted process of posing as “my own martyrdom,” but in the end the self-made shipping magnate was pleased to be portrayed in the manner of a baroque aristocrat.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 39, fig. 26.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. pp. 32, 113, pl. 15.
  • Linda Merrill. The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography. Washington and New Haven. p. 110, fig. 3.1.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. James McNeill Whistler: A Biographical Outline Illustrated from the Collections of the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 4 Washington, 1950. pl. 9.
  • Katharine Lochnan. The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler. Exh. cat. New Haven and London, 1984. p. 156.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces. Richmond and New York, 2004. p. 45, fig. 2.17.
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. pl. 104.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. p. 178.
  • Sadakichi Hartmann. The Whistler Book: A Monograph of the Life and Position in Art of James McNeill Whister, Together with a Careful Study of His More Important Works. Boston. p. 22.
  • Bernhard Sickert. Whistler. London and New York. cat. 42, p. 156.
  • James McNeill Whistler, with an introduction by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, with an introduction by Joseph Pennell. James McNeill Whistler. Distinguished American artists New York, 1924. pl. 27.
  • Denys Sutton. Nocturne: The Art of James McNeill Whistler. Philadelphia and New York, 1964. fig. 31.
  • Tom Prideaux. The World of Whistler, 1834-1903. New York, 1970. p. 116.
  • Denys Sutton. James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels & Watercolours. London, 1966. pl. 60.
  • H. Granville Fell. Memories of Whistler I. The Peacock Room. vol. 95 London, January/February 1935. pp. 21-24.
  • Jonathan Shirland. Embryonic Phantoms: Materiality, Marginality and Modernity in Whistler's Black Portraits. 34/1. p. 83, fig. 1.
  • Susan Grace Galassi, Margaret F. MacDonald, Aileen Ribeiro. Whistler, Women, and Fashion. Exh. cat. New Haven and New York, April 22 - July 13, 2003. p. 97, fig. 89.
  • Barbara Dayer Gallati, Eric Homberger, Sylvia Yount, Dorothee Hansen, Ortrud Westheider, Susanne Scharf, Bucerius Kunst Forum. High Society: American Portraits of the Gilded Age: Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, June 7-August 31, 2008. Exh. cat. Munich. p. 67.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of James McNeill Whistler: Lecture at the Detroit Museum of Art. Detroit, Friday, April 23, 1909. p. 39.
  • Albert von Dreyfus. James A. McNeill Whistler. Munich. p. 218.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book IX: Exhibition of May 2nd, 1923. Washington. .
  • Burns A. Stubbs Freer Gallery of Art. The Whistler Peacock Room. Washington, D.C. pl. 1.
  • Albert Gallatin. Portraits of Whistler: A Critical Study and an Iconography. New York. p. 9.
  • Helen W. Henderson. The Art Treasures of Washington: An Account of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and of the National Gallery and Museum, with Descriptions and Criticisms of their Contents. The Art Galleries of America series Boston. p. 244.
  • International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. Memorial exhibition of the works of the late James McNeill Whistler: first president of the International society of sculptors, painters, and gravers, in the New gallery, Regent Street, London, from the twenty-second of February to the fifteenth of April . Exh. cat. London. p. 118.
  • Hesketh Pearson. The Man Whistler: pt. 3; the Peacock Room. New York, December 1952. p. 76.
  • Thomas Robert Way. Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the artist. London. pp. 29, 35.
  • Hesketh Pearson. The Man Whistler. New York. pp. 90, 116-117.
  • Susan Hobbs. A Connoisseur's Vision of America: The American Collection of Charles Lang Freer., August 1977. p. 98.
  • Geneva Frances Morgan Tilleux. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 1857-1873. Ann Arbor. fig. 68.
  • Susan Hobbs. Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. vol. 120, no. 5 New York, November 1981. pl. 7.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 332.
  • Kenneth Bendiner. An Introduction to Victorian Painting. New Haven. p. 85.
  • Leila Mechlin. The Freer Collection of Art: Mr. Charles L. Freer's Gift to the Nation, to be Installed at Washington. vol. 73, no. 3 New York, January 1907. p. 364.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort, Pamela Robertson, Lee Glazer. James McNeill Whistler Retrospective. Exh. cat. Tokyo, 2014. p. 40, fig. 20.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum