This remarkably inked sheet comes from Whistler’s time in Paris in 1859. There, he created etched self-portraits or portraits of friends. The sitter in this image is a friend of Whistler's, named Just Becquet
(1829-1907), who was a Parisian sculptor with some musical talents. The work, also known as The Fiddler (despite the fact that the instrument he plays is a cello), became part of the artist’s Thames Set (Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects). Whistler chooses to focus on details of the sitter's face and expression, leaving the rest of the figure in a relatively sketchy state, which in this sheet is emphasized with dramatic plate toning.