Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl

James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)


Oil on canvas

76.5 x 51.1

Tate Britain, Accession N03418

Bequeathed by Arthur Studd, 1919

Kindly made available for non-commercial use on the CC BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives) licence. Commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee

Originally entitled "The Little White Girl," this shows the same woman as Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl — for both, Whistler's model was his mistress, Joanna Hiffernan. This time the young woman in her white dress is gazing into a mirror over a fireplace, in which her reflection appears. Uncannily, the reflection captures something more than pensiveness or simple reverie — a sadness and weariness that the observer might not otherwise have detected. [Mouse over the text for links. The commentary continues below.]