The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837-1909

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1837.04.05
Place of Birth: 7 Chester Street,Grosvenor Place, London
Date of Death: 1909.04.10
Place of Death: The Pines, Putney, London


Algernon Charles Swinburne was a poet and critic.


Swinburne met JW in July 1862. Both were members of the Arts Club between 1864 and 1871. They were close friends, within the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Swinburne called JW 'père' and JW called Swinburne 'fils'.

In 1865, Swinburne's poem 'Before the Mirror' was inspired by Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52) and placed on its frame. When the picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy an extract appeared in the catalogue. The poem was, wrote JW 'a rare and graceful tribute from the poet to the painter - a noble recognition of work by the production of a nobler one'. JW gave Swinburne La Mère Gérard (1) (YMSM 26). However by 1888, JW had (perhaps regretfully) repudiated their friendship when Swinburne published criticisms of his Ten O'Clock Lecture.'


Records of The Arts Club, London; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 (cat. nos. 24, 26, 52, 84-85, 87-88, 101); MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995 (cat. nos. 309, 317, 359, 485, 542, 658, 673, 1238); Obituary, The Annual Register, London, 1909, pp. 120-121; Henderson, Philip, Swinburne: the Portrait of a Poet, London, 1974; Lang, Cecil Y., The Swinburne Letters, 6 vols, New Haven, 1959.