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Walter Greaves began as an amateur artist, drawing views of Chelsea. As a boy he worked in his father's boatyard on the Thames, and met Whistler who lived nearby. He became his assistant, and then his pupil.

Greaves painted this portrait of one of his sisters as a companion to his similar full length portrait of another sister. With its use of light and shade, and the attention to detail of the elaborate dress, it is more conventional than Whistler's portraits. The unusual dress is a Victorian revival of Elizabethan fashion.

September 2004