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William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)
Woman With a Book, n.d.
Oil on canvas on board
Gift of Mrs. Wilson Smith - 1981.160

An aura of the Far East infuses this portrait, as noted by the carefully placed objects in the background. The Chinese vase, the Japanese doll in the glass case, and the woman's costume are evidence of the vogue for chinoiserie and japonisme. Due to interest in the Far East, Liberty's, a London-based clothing and fabric shop, had been importing goods from Japan and China since the turn of the century. The woman's loose coat would have been a comfortable alternative for at-home wear.