LOWELL, Mass. — Three pastel works from James McNeill Whistler are on display at a museum in England after having not been seen for more than a century.

The works were recently given to the British government in lieu of an inheritance tax and were allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, the museum said.

They join 74 prints and 17 drawings, pastels and watercolors from the famous Lowell-born artist.

The works came from the estate of a British actor, Jeffry Wickham, who died in 2014, according to Sotheby’s, which negotiated the deal. Wickham’s great-grandfather, William Cleverly Alexander, was called Whistler’s leading patron.

The Fitzwilliam Museum began showing the works last month, called the pastels “amongst Whistler’s finest and most complete works on paper.”

Whistler, who died in 1903, was born on Worthen Street, where the Whistler House Museum of Art stands. Whistler lived in the house for only about three years, and he spent most of his creative years in London and Paris.

Sara Bogosian, the president and executive director of the Whistler House, called the public display of the Whistler works significant because it is rare for any of his pieces to come up for auction or permanent loan to a museum.

“His pastels were truly beautiful,” she said. “Whistler is very popular and has quite a following throughout the world,” she added.

The Whistler House has a collection of Whistler etchings, some of which are now on display at the U.S. Embassy in Spain.

The largest Whistler collection is at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, Bogosian said. Glasgow University, where the museum is located, calls itself “the world center for Whistler research.”

The three works now on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in England were created in the 1870s.

Alexander, who the Fitzwilliam Museum calls Whistler’s leading patron, commissioned portraits of his daughters from the artist. One of them, “Miss Cicely Alexander,” is one of the three works now on display at the museum.

The other two works, “Girl in a long Blue and Red Dress,” and “The Lady in the Long Pink Dress,” are believed by the museum to have been bought by Alexander because the women in the works resembled one of his daughters.

In all three portraits, the faces are left essentially blank in what the museum says was a way of allowing the viewer to focus on the rest of the image.

“We are thrilled and profoundly grateful to have been allocated these delicate drawings…,” the musem said in a statement.

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