The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 2nd Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1892
Record 6 of 8

System Number: 05026
Date: 20 December 1892
Author: Francis Gerard Prange[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P666
Document Type: ALS

33 Brook St

20 Decbr 1892

Cher Maître,

I have been expecteding your coming & have done all I could to be swept & garnished[2].

You will be well pleased, I think, and especially with the light. I am beginning to feel quite happy. We shall open at the end of the month[3].

The Lady of Meux[4] has been duly written to and every artifice of flattery employed - gratitude overflowing.

I[']m still seedy and not as energetic, as I should like - but I always say one can only do what one can & deil take the hindmost[5].

Rathbones[6] with whom [p. 2] I spent Sunday in Liverpool were full of your & your wife's[7] kindness to them. It is delightful to hear friends whom we like spoken of in such fashion.

A propos! Lavery[8] asked me, in case I wrote you, to mention that in discussing the price of a portrait to be painted by you of some Johnnie whom he has introduced au Maître[9] = the figure was put at "£1000 probably".

My best greeting & all good Chrisstmasse [sic] wishes to your wife & yourself - Noël Noël!
In good amity

F G Prange

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1.  Francis Gerard Prange
Francis Gerard Prange (b. ca 1843), London art dealer [more].

2.  swept & garnished
Echoing Luke 11.25, 'And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.'

3.  month
For THE 2nd Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1892.

4.  Meux
Prange asked Lady Valerie Susan ('Susie') Meux (1847-1910), née Langdon, collector and patroness [more], to lend her portrait.

5.  deil take the hindmost
Scots version of the proverb 'Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost'; Prange was given to dropping Scottish idioms INTO HIS LETTERS. The proverb has a biblical derivation: see also Deut. 25.18, 'How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee ...' and Joshua 10.19, 'And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them...'

6.  Rathbones
Philip Henry Rathbone (1828-1895), collector [more], and his wife.

7.  wife's
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

8.  Lavery
John Lavery (1856-1941), painter [more].

9.  au maitre
Fr., to the master.