Swan and Iris (Sketch after Cecil Lawson's "Swan and Iris")

James McNeill Whistler American
After Cecil Gordon Lawson British

Not on view

Whistler's etching is based on an unfinished painting by the British landscapist Lawson, a member of the Idyllists. The tranquil riverscape is composed of a flowering iris in the foreground, and a swan with outstretched wings moving across an expanse of water, perhaps the River Thames, towards a bank in the middle distance. The composition is framed by the wide span of an arched bridge. The print was commissioned as an illustration for a posthumous biography of Lawson written by Edmund Gosse and published in 1883, a copy of which is in the Museum's collection (17.3.2983). Lawson's wife, Constance Lawson, was the elder sister of Whistler's wife-to-be Beatrice Philip Godwin, whom he married in 1888.

Swan and Iris (Sketch after Cecil Lawson's "Swan and Iris"), James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching and drypoint; sixth state of six (Glasgow); printed in black ink on medium weight ivory laid paper

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