Alice Fay Greaves was the younger sister of Walter and Henry Greaves.
Her father ran a boatbuilding yard on the Thames at Chelsea. They lived a few doors from Whistler, at 9 Lindsey Row. Whistler used to tell her 'You are the pride of one end of the Row and I am the pride of the other.'
She is the subject of both paintings and etchings by both Walter Greaves and JW. She would have been about twenty when she posed, to judge from her appearance, for the etchingThe Little Velvet Dress (K.106).
According to Walter Greaves, Whistler 'was continually making sketches of my sister, "Tinnie", in chalk on brown paper; he used to say she had such a wonderfully shaped head' (draft of 1922 catalogue in Marchant collection, Tate archives). The Ermine Coat (M.419), A lady standing: Tinnie Greaves (M.420), At the piano (M.538) and At the piano (M.539) are probably portraits of Tinnie, with her oval face and short fair fringe.
Marchant, Wm. and Co., A Reply to an Attack Made by One of Whistler's Biographers on a Pupil of Whistler, Mr. Walter Greaves and his Work, London, 1911, preface, republished exhibition catalogue, London, Goupil Gallery, 1922, pp. 10, pp. 17-18, cat. no.10; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.