Portrait of Sir Francis Seymour Haden

WAG 8137


While training as surgeon in Paris, Haden was encouraged to study life drawing to familiarise himself with the human body and to steady his hands for surgery. He encouraged Whistler to work from nature. This prompted Whistler’s first set of etchings Douze Eaux-Fortes d'après Nature (Twelve Etchings from Nature) in 1858, more commonly know as the French Set. Whistler dedicated these to Haden. Haden had such enthusiasm for working from nature that he would pull a copper plate from his bag at dinner parties and begin etching at the table.