The famous painting of James McNeill "Whistler’s mother" was allegedly meant to feature a girl, who never showed up for her appointment. So, Whistler’s mother stood in for her son to paint her. At the time, the Victorian crowd didn’t accept the term “portrait” for this piece, which is why it was named "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1". Whistler’s artwork wasn’t immediately appreciated by England’s artworld, something which he actually noted as a personal victory.
In our version we see a woman leisurely enjoying her foot bath. The forced soberness of the figure is no longer necessary. She enjoys a carefree moment, reading a book, and smoking her pipe, a nod to the original painting, a timeless object used by people to this day.