The American painter, James McNeil Whistler, is the subject of Hesketh Pearson's biography. Whistler's personality aroused more controversy in the nineteenth-century art world than that of anyone else. He is best known for his twilight scenes or 'nocturnes' such as the Thames at Battersea and for the famous portrait of his mother. His work was also to significantly influence interior decoration. But Whistler was as famous for his biting wit, fights, quarrels and sharp attacks on art critics. Pearson here shows the painter as his friends saw him and adds fresh insight drawn from meetings with people who knew him.