The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: 118th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1886
Record 2 of 4

System Number: 02509
Date: [1 July 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Frederic Leighton[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L45
Document Type: ALdS[3]


No! my dear Leighton - permit me! -

It really was a pretty little recognition of my own personality beneath the cloak of Office - fallen by chance upon me - that caused the elimination, from among the formal invitations to the Soirée[4] at Burlington House, of the customary card to the President[5] of the Society of British Artists -

I am told in a letter from the acting Secretary[6] in Suffolk Street, that "No invitation has been delivered [p. 2] at the Gallery for the President["] - Moreover that "This is the first time the President of our Society has been ignored by the Royal Academy" -

Surely therefore I may suppose that[7] flattering admission surely[8] was never more delicately conveyed than by this dainty departure from usage - insinuating as it does, that, in my case, with yourself and the gentlemen of the Council, President has not ceased to be Painter, and that no official courtesies may be offered to the one, that were never ventured upon with the other -

Ainsi donc mon cher, comme toujours![9]

J McNeill Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1 July 1886]
Dated from F. Leighton's letter to JW, #02510, and from the reference to the Soirée (see below).

2.  ALdS
The text is written at right-angles to the printed address.

3.  Frederic Leighton
Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), painter and sculptor [more].

4.  Soirée
The Soirée usually took place about eight or nine weeks after the Opening Day of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition at the beginning of May.

5.  President
JW was elected President of the Society of British Artists on 1 June 1886.

6.  acting Secretary
Possibly Horace Henry Cauty (1846-1909), historical and genre painter [more].

7.  Surely therefore I may suppose that
Deleted lightly in pencil.

8.  surely
Added lightly in pencil.

9.  Ainsi donc mon cher, comme toujours!
Fr., so, my dear, as always!