The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881
Record 10 of 49

System Number: 01123
Date: 27 January [1881][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Marcus Bourne Huish[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F54
Document Type: ALS

[embossed roundel with head of Leonardo]


Dear Huish -

I do not agree with you when you say[3] that "the time has now arrived to write me the letter I suggested" - most decidedly I think that the letter you handed me only yesterday should have been submitted to my consideration at the beginning of things when I asked for it -

While I recognise the superiority of astuteness of the legal mind in leaving to the last moment a proposition that I should certainly have refused [p. 2] point blank in the outstart, I must say that the excuse upon which it is based, - that of the expenses just incurred, seems to me weak indeed - for while you point to the costs of the decorations[4], you seem to think that I am blind to the fact that in this way I present you, once for all, with the only perfect little Gallery in London -

Unnecessary to dwell upon this matter further - but you cannot suppose me to ignore the worth of this, both as enhancing the character of your future exhibitions - and also as an advertisement ofto the Fine Arts Society -

I had supposed that the profit you would charge would have been 15 or 20 per. cent on the sales and I now have to say that I will go as far as 25. per cent -

Yours truly

J A McN. Whistler

As you were occupied this afternoon I write this - and will be at the Gallery tomorrow morning -

Jan. 27.

[p. 3]

'Expenses of
     400 a month
     Say ¼ for 2 months     200.
     40£ a month -           80
 ½ cost of decoration        30
 Private view cards &c
      Postage -              10 

  or £960 before any

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1.  27 January [1881]
This is a reply to Huish's letter to JW, 26 January 1881, #01122.

2.  Marcus Bourne Huish
Marcus Bourne Huish (1843 - d.1921), barrister, writer and art dealer, Director of the Fine Art Society [more].

3.  say
See M. B. Huish to JW, #01122. In his letter, Huish had proposed that the Gallery take one third on the sale of each pastel at the exhibition, Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881. In the end, the pastels sold well at prices between twenty and sixty guineas (see M. Franklin to O. H. Bacher, #10060).

4.  decorations
JW decked out the Gallery in gold and brown for the exhibition with the frames in yellow or greenish gold hung 'on the line.' See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, pp. 292-93.

5.  'Expenses of Gallery ... profit'
Written in M. B. Huish's hand.