annie haden

Annie Haden, 1860

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Etching and drypoint; 35.5 x 21.4cm

Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow


Whistler made this portrait of his young niece, Annie Haden, in early 1860 while staying with his half-sister’s family in their home on Sloane Street, London. He was particularly pleased with the results of this plate, and his preoccupation with the description of texture and the effects of reflected light are apparent in the finished etching.


Happiness is a cat
who curls around your head when you lie down to sleep,
loudly mewing and purring because they’re so happy you are

Sadness is a 29-year-old woman
sitting alone at the office,

Anger is unseen.

Ambivalence is the joy of new books
and the lament of few words.

Indifference is meter
unmeasured and methodical.

Monday is today,
and it is.

-Annie Haden; 3.10.14

Crude Attempt

take this halo from my head
and drape me instead
with real and genuine tears
that cling to a soul as tightly
as moonlight against a bare bedroom wall.

i grow weary of its weight and might
so mightn’t i
lie down to sleep
that I may wake among wildflowers,
free & soft against my cheeks?

hard and cold as i may be
and perhaps so naturally
obtuse or difficult to read,
this hollowness hangs heavy
and no longer can i breathe.

-annie; 11.19.14