The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 5th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895
Record 4 of 13

System Number: 10720
Date: [7 October 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Lyme Regis
Recipient: Stephen Richards[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/44/10
Document Type: ALS

Royal Lion Hotel - Lyme Regis
Dorset -


Monday[4] -

Dear Sir -

I want you to write me a line about the little head[5] of mine -

You will have had it in hand since this morning -

Now you know it is not to be touched except in the way of varnishing -

I want a beautiful enameled surface! [p. 2] The canvas is of an open texture - but this is all to the good - and is quite in character with the work -

The head itself being well covered and of the enamel quality I speak of, the looseness of the rest only adds to the character of the little picture in its frame - giving it that "patina", that you and I both delight in! -

Now you know that I have full confidence in you - only I should like to be by and keep your clever fingers from picking at the paint!

Mind now I am only paying you a compliment - and can rely upon you to beautifully varnish this head of mine that I am very fond of - Frame it then perfectly - well up as we saw together, so that no uncovered canvas is seen - Paste round at the back that no dust gets in - and take it yourself to the Gallery early on the Wednesday morning[6] - I want you to go yourself so that you may see to the exact placing and pitching of the picture - and then write and tell me how it looks in the room - [p. 3] Of course you will keep it out of its frame at your place as long as you can that it may dry without bloom -

Well you will write me about all this - on Wednesday -

Meanwhile you will have put in hand the two new frames (exactly same pattern and measurement)      - In short I am sure that in your hands all will go as I wish it - and I shall not forget -

Very truly

J McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


Stephen Richards. Esq.
Picture Restorer to the Galleries of Great Britain
4. Berners Street
Oxford Street
[postmark:] LYME·REGIS / B / OC 7 / 95
[postmark on verso:] AXMINSTER / C / OC 7 / 95


1.  [7 October 1895]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Stephen Richards
Stephen Richards (b. ca 1845), picture restorer [more].

3.  '7/10/95'
Added in pencil in another hand.

4.  Monday
Double underlined.

5.  head
Probably Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441).

6.  Wednesday morning
5th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895, which opened in October 1895.