Henrietta Blanche Stanley, Countess of Airlie, was the second daughter of Baron Stanley, the second Baron of Alderley. In 1851 she married David Graham Drummond Ogilvy (1826-1881), ninth Earl of Airlie. Their son David Stanley William (1856-1900), succeeded his father as Earl in 1881, and married Mabell the eldest daughter of the fifth Earl of Arran in 1886. He was killed in action at Diamond Hill, Pretoria during the Boer War. Henrietta and her husband also had a daughter Clementine Gertrude Helen who in 1874 married the diplomat and collector Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (later Lord Redesdale). The Countess and her husband had a number of residences in Britain, including Airlie Lodge, Campden Hill, Kensington; Corlachy Castle, Kirriemuir; and Airlie Castle, Alyth.
JW was friendly with the Countess and her husband, as well as her daughter and son-in-law. From 1877 the Freeman-Mitfords lived at Lindsey House, near JW. In 1878 the Airlies invited JW up to their family home in Scotland, wanting him to carry out a number of etched portraits (#03562).
According to Pennell, JW painted a portrait of her daughter 'in draperies of Chinese blue silk' around 1876, Portrait of Lady Redesdale (YMSM 189). He also painted her son-in-law's portrait in 'Van Dyck costume', Portrait of Lord Redesdale (YMSM 188). Both paintings were slashed to pieces by JW to prevent them from falling into the hands of his creditors.
Burke, Bernard, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 2 vols, London, 1894; Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, London, 1896; Who's Who, London, 1905; Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980.