A young child sits facing the viewer. He has shoulder length hair, a white colar and dark suit, the pants of which come to just below his knees. His feet are together and his hands rest in his lap beween his knees. The image is strongly lit from the left by an unseen light source.
Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910) was the third of four children born to Whistler's half-sister Deborah and her husband Francis Seymiour Haden; he would have been about six years old when Whistler drew this plate.
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.