A seated female faces towards the viewer. She is leaning back in her chair, her chin resting on her left arm; she holds papers in her right hand that are in her lap.
When Whistler married Beatrice Godwin, née Philip, in 1888 he became part of a close family circle that included his wife (who called herself Beatrix), her sisters and her mother. In 1894 Beatrix was diagnosed with cancer; Whistler was devastated. Many of the lithographs he drew of her seem to belie the reality of the situation. "The Beautiful Lazy Lady" is not an image of indolence but of illness. Whistler's portraits of Beatrix are touching and intimate, although their titles may indicate that he had trouble facing the reality of the diagnosis.
This black and white print depicts a male lion attacking the body of a horse near a rocky cave. Only the front portion of the horse is shown, lying on its side on the ground. The lion crouches above the horse and presses down with its front paws, claws extended, as it sinks its teeth into the horse's neck. There is a fierce, wild eyed expression on the lion's face. The scene is set in an undefined rocky landscape.
Delacroix traveled to North Africa in 1832, visiting Morocco and Algeria--a visit that fueled his interest in non-European cultures. The interest in exotic locales fascinated Europeans and coincided with the rise of tourism; painters (many of whom never left Europe) depicted distant places and different cultural settings, including harems. For the sophisticated and urbane Delacroix, the unleashed ferocity of wild animals--particularly the big cats--stirred his imagination. Scenes such as this of a lion attacking a horse figured frequently in Delacroix's art.
A group of booths along a street, shown at night, occupy the right side of the image; beyond, at upper left, is a three-story building that closes off the composition. Figures in the street look towards the booths where light and other figures are congregated.
Whistler spent time in Lime Regis along the Dorsetshire coast and it is believed that this is the Onion Mraket in Old Shambles Place in Lime Regis.