Whistler conversation

Current Activity

Major research projects include:

Whistler Paintings Project

This project, led by Professor Margaret MacDonald and Dr Grischka Petri, University of Bonn, and funded by the Chancellor’s Fund, University of Glasgow, The Leverhulme Trust, the Lunder Foundation and others, will result in fully illustrated and annotated online catalogues raisonnés of Whistler’s 500 oil paintings and 1800 works on paper.

Whistler & Watercolour

This initiative, led by Dr Patricia de Montfort, University of Glasgow, is a collaboration with the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and Tate Britain. It uses art historical research and technical analysis to investigate the materials and context of Whistler’s watercolours.

Louise Jopling

Whistler’s friend and contemporary, Louise Jopling (1843 –1933) was a leading woman artist and teacher in Victorian London. This research project, led by Dr Patricia de Montfort, aims to document Jopling’s career and investigate the context within which women artists practised in the 19th century.

Exhibition Culture in London 1878 – 1908

This project, led by Dr Patricia de Montfort, documents the history of exhibitions in late 19th-century London, including many exhibitions related to Whistler and his circle. It will portray the world of commercial art dealers, artist-led exhibition societies and clubs by recording the vast spectrum of art displays available to the Victorian gallery visitor.

Whistler Etchings Project, completed 2012

This major project, funded by the University of Glasgow, the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Paul Mellon Centre for British Art,  the Lunder Foundation, and others, and led by Professor Margaret MacDonald, University of Glasgow, explored Whistler’s creative process as an etcher and printer. It was based on analysis of his 490 etchings, including copper plates and multiple states, and used the holdings at the University of Glasgow, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Colby College, and other major collections.

The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, completed 2010

This edition of Whistler correspondence, 18551903, comprising some 10,000 letters to and from Whistler, was supported by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Getty Grant Program, the John Sloan Memorial Trust, and Patricia Cornwell Enterprises.

Whistler Consortium

A partnership between the University of Glasgow, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, was established in 2010  to promote collaborative research, exhibitions and publications related to Whistler and his circle. Membership now includes the Art Institute of Chicago. Activity during the period 2013 to 2015 includes a major exhibition at Colby College Museum of Art, scheduled for 2015, fellowships and student placements. The consortium is funded by the Lunder Foundation.

The Hunterian at Kelvin Hall

This ambitious project will provide high-standard storage, conservation, research, teaching and learning facilities for The Hunterian’s reserve collections, including the Whistler Collection. Developed in partnership with Glasgow Life and Scottish Screen Archive (National Library of Scotland) and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it is scheduled for completion in 2016.


Recent loans from the University’s Whistler Collections include the following:

Mortimer Menpes, Art Gallery of South Australia (14 June – 13 September 2014)

A Needle Walks into a Haystack, 8th Liverpool Biennial (5 July – 26 October 2014)

Whistler: A Retrospective, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (13 September–16 November 2014) and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa (6 December 2014–1 March 2015)

Whistler conversation painting
The Conversation c. 1890–4
© The Hunterian