Edith Emma Marzetti (1865-1924), née Waller was the daughter of Major Charles Bullen Waller and and Emma Piggott. She had twelve siblings. Her younger sister Maud Mary became the wife of Richard Powis Monk. Her uncle Pickford Robert Waller was an English designer and collector.
As a girl Edith used to accompany her younger sister Maud to Whistler's studio to model. On one particular day Edith recalled that Whistler was suffering from 'a bad liver attack' and that he made Edith sing to him. In return Whistler gave Edith Bravura in Brown (M.929). She later took it back to him to put his butterfly signature on which he did. Whistler exhibited it, possibly at Dowdeswell in 1884. It was never returned to Edith.
Edith attended the private viewing of the second exhibition of Whistler's Venice etchings being held at the Fine Art Society in 1883. She declared that the golden butterfly that all were required to wear was one of the 'few treasures which I guard most jealously'.
Edith later came to own Sketch of 'Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander' (M.843), Whistler having given the drawing to her father who passed it on to his daughter.
Matthew White Ridley, who had met Whistler as an art student in Paris and was later included in an etching by him, The Storm (K.81), painted Edith's portrait in 1881.
Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.