The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Kunstausstellung der Berliner Sezession, Berlin, 1900
Record 1 of 3

System Number: 05058
Date: [1878/1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London?]
Recipient: Editor of Punch[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P698
Document Type: ALd

me for Vanity Fair[3]

Dear Mr. Punch -

Since How nice and good of you to Thank you so very much for the attention you give me - You who are occupied with serious things, Journeying to Berlin[4] Twixt Axe & Crown - with nothing on -

So certain am I of this that I am sure the

There are those who have not seen this but then they have not looked in the right spirit - They maintain that Punch on the Road to Berlin has fallen in with bad company and that these notes

Those who had of late thought that a coarse grain had been introduced from the popular drama the pun of the pantomime - the gag of the Gallery will see here their error, and in the elegance and light playfulness of the banter will recognise the dear Old Our Punch of Old - the courteous Gentleman whose w vulgarity was wit was never[tiring & only as?] wit is at least never -

How good - the arrangement was clearly good this joke is - new I suppose - and the Whistler . . [new?], and we have never met before - never? never! - What never[5] . . . . . . ["]Hardly Ever!" -

[p. 2] Dear Good Mr. Punch -

What has happened to your non well mannered self

I have I am so grieved shocked to have so greatly angered you though flattered at and scarcely as much flattered at having the distinction of your wrath as might be supposed - for I fancy it is not genuine -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1878/1890]
Dated by writing, and by reference to Gilbert and Sullivan (see below).

2.  Editor of Punch
Punch, or the London Charivari was the leading satirical weekly journal. This letter, of which there are separate unfinished drafts on both sides of the paper, may not have been completed and sent to the journal.

3.  me for Vanity Fair
This line is written in a different ink and looks to be earlier than the rest.

4.  Journeying to Berlin
JW had little direct connection with Berlin although he did exhibit at the Kunstaustellung der Berliner Sezession, Berlin, in the Spring of 1900. Patriotic Punch presented Germany as its constant opponent, but although Germany was pro-Boer (as was JW) their involvement was not active and this would hardly account for JW's letter.

5.  What never
Quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. This was premiered on 25 May 1878 and ran for 571 performances.