The introduction to TMWWT mentions the, 'White Lock of Whistler.'
Other than the portrait of his mother I knew little about James Whistler before reading TMWWT. The reference to him led me to check him out a bit. It turns out he was a fascinating character. His 'white lock' was a prominent distinguishing feature of his hair (see picture). He was interested impressionism rather than realism which makes his fame for the portrait of his mother ironic. He did not call the portrait 'Whistler's Mother,' but rather 'Arrangement in Grey and Black.' His ego was legendary. He made it a practice to sue critics for libel. An especially notorious example of this was a libel suit Whistler filed against art critic John Ruskin who made the following public comment about Whistler's Nocturine In Black and Gold, "The ill-educated conceit of the artist... approached the aspect of willful imposture... I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face."
Whistler won his suit but was awarded only 1 farthing instead of the 200 guineas he was seeking. Whistler's penchant for suing people for unflattering reviews of his works kept him in perpetual financial distress but in typical Whistler fashion he recorded his grievances in a book called,
'The Gentle Art of Making Enemies