Brian Hunter

Brian Hunter

Posted on 01/22/2014


Photo taken on January 22, 2014


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Serious Business in the Pub

Serious Business in the Pub
A woman and two men sit in a Wapping pub with a wonderful view over the hustle and bustle and organised chaos of the working river. They don't seem very interested in that, though.... The woman is Jo Heffernan/Hiffernan (both spellings are used), Whistler's star model and mistress in the early 1860's. Originally the painting would have made it clear that her character was a dockside prostitute and the men were her pimp and a client. Whistler changed this at the last minute to make her look more respectable-he was worried that an overtly immoral theme with no visible signs of impending retribution would alienate the jury at the Royal Academy Summer Show. The painting was accepted and admired, though critics puzzled over what story it was telling

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