The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881
Record 20 of 49

System Number: 06083
Date: 2 February 1881
Author: Thomas Way[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W80
Document Type: ALS[2]


February 2nd 1881.

My dear Mr Whistler -

I saw Huish[3] last night who was much shocked at the sad news[4] which I had to convey to him - & desired me to express his sorrow & condolence to you - He also gave me the enclosed which personally is perhaps not unsatisfactory - George Sala[5] has been up & Brown[6] tells me that he seemed delighted with them saying something about a "leader" which would be very nice -

Burnand[7] too has done them [p. 2] and will show them up in Punch next week - The Sales[8] are still going on favourably.

Duré[9] assures me that there is no immediate haste for the illustration as he knows not when the article will appear -

By the bye Huish has asked me to write one for the Art journal[10] - It is a rash thing for an illiterate to attempt - but I have a notion or two which may perhaps be pulled into shape -

Miss Franklin[11] came this morning, of course greatly distressed at the loss you have sustained - and most anxious about you -

She talked much about your [p. 3] dear Mother & the character which she drew fills up exactly what I had conceived from frequent study of the portrait[12] - It is indeed a sad deprivation for you - but remember my dear Whistler - that she is not lost, but only gone before -

Elden[13] has just come in consequence of a Telegram from me - He has been suffering & is so still from cold & lumbago - which prevented his coming on Saturday - Of course I need not tell you how heartily his sympathies are with you both in your success & sorrow -

You have known him too long to doubt his feelings [p. 4] although he hides them sometimes not wisely.

Good bye My dear Whistler[.] Give my kindest regards to your Brother[14] and believe me to be always

Yours faithfull[y]

Thos Way.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Thomas Way
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 37, no. 8.

3.  Huish
Marcus Bourne Huish (1843 - d.1921), barrister, writer and art dealer, Director of the Fine Art Society [more]. JW's exhibition of pastels Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881 had just opened on 29 January.

4.  sad news
Way was alluding to Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more], who died in Hastings on 31 January.

5.  George Sala
George Augustus Sala (1828-1895), artist, journalist and critic [more]. While Sala does not seem to have written anything himself, a review of the Venice pastels by Godfrey Turner did appear in The Daily Telegraph, for which he was a regular columnist. See Anon., 'Venice Pastels,' The Daily Telegraph, 5 February 1881. See also G. Turner to M. B. Huish, #05868.

6.  Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more].

7.  Burnand
Francis Cowley Burnand (1836-1917), barrister, dramatist and journalist [more]. An article in Punchappeared shortly afterwards. See Anon., 'Mr. Whistler's Wenice; or, Pastels by Pastelthwaite,' Punch, LXXX, 12 February 1881, p. 69.

8.  Sales
JW's pastels were selling readily at prices between twenty and sixty guineas. See M. Franklin to O. H. Bacher, #10060.

9.  Duré
Probably a misspelling of Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more]. On 2 February 1881, Duret wrote to JW concerning an article he was writing for the Gazette des beaux-arts, and the illustration JW had undertaken to provide (see T. Duret to JW, #00984). Duret's article eventually appeared in April. See Duret, Théodore, 'James Whistler,' Gazette des Beaux-arts, vol. 23, April 1881, pp. 365-69, pp. 365-69.

10.  Art journal
In March 1881, an anonymous article appeared in Art Journal. It is likely that Way was involved in some way given its positive tone. See Anon., 'Art Notes and Reviews,' The Art Journal vol. 33, no. 231, March 1881, p. 93.

11.  Miss Franklin
Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more].

12.  portrait
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101).

13.  Elden
Matthew Robinson Elden (1839-1885), artist [more].

14.  Brother
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].