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The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Whistler 2003 - Centenary Journal

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21st October 2003 - Proclamation of the King

As well as giving us many and varied details of Whistler's own life and work, the edition of Whistler's Correspondence also affords us glimpses into the life of the various nations in which the artist resided. One such example of this occurs in a letter to Whistler from Rosalind Birnie Philip, when on the 27 January 1901 she records the mood in Hastings following the death of Queen Victoria five days previously. She also records with some humour the pronouncement of the new King:

"I have not told you much about the mourning of the nation, which seems to be very genuine even here. There is a certain flower woman who pleases me very much. I noticed her arranging her flowers for the day & they were all tied with little black bows & she spoke of the Queen as the "dear Lady"...I heard King Edward VII proclaimed from the town hall by the Mayor of Hastings. The ceremony was not very impressive as they were such a funny looking lot of old men, on a very small balcony."

(GUL MS Whistler P426)