UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Christine Anderson, ??-??

Nationality: English
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:

Identity:

Mrs Christine Anderson was manager of the 'Company of the Butterfly'.

Life:

In 1896 JW 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. Mrs Anderson lived at 6 Fitzroy Street around this time, near to JW's studio and he employed her as manager of the shop. A drawing, The Blue Butterfly (M.1473), shows the projected shop front. The Pennells described the two rooms, which were on the first floor: 'they were charming, a delicate tint on the walls, the floor covered with matting, white muslin curtains at the windows. A few prints were hung. One or two small pictures stood on easels'. It operated until 1901 but was not all JW had hoped. Mrs Anderson was inefficient, and the shop was closed half the time; the Pennells never saw anyone there. JW was continually 'astonished' at her attitude towards clients, but never got around to firing her for incompetence. C. L. Freer did manage to buy a few things there, but clients still preferred to come direct to JW and discover treasures in his studio.'

Bibliography:

Hopkinson, Martin, 'Whistler's Company of the Butterfly,' The Burlington Magazine, vol. 136, no. 1099, October 1994; Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 199-200.