The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 6th Exhibition, Society of French Artists, London, 1873
Record 3 of 4

System Number: 00718
Date: [16 November 1896][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: John James Cowan[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C219
Document Type: ALS

'Nov 16. 1896'

8. Fitzroy Street. Fitzroy Square.

My dear Cowan -

There is a lovely story to tell you about the "Rose & Silver - Portrait[3]" - I sent to the Grafton[4] - ending naturally in an amazing correspondence!! - This will of course take a while to copy -

You will meanwhile not be surprised to hear that the Committee with[h]eld my quotations!!! - But the purpose was momentarily served - [p. 2] and I gracefully left the picture in its place of honour that it might be in evidence - while the rumour spreads.

Now I have just had a note from the Secretary[5] of the Gallery - to say that someone is wanting to purchase the picture - I should ask 300 guineas for it -

But if you wish to have it - I shall wait till I hear from you -

You speak also of the girl with the sleeping baby[6] - for that by itself I should [ask] 150. - or perhaps 160 -

If however you think you would still like to have the two together - I would be delighted that they should be in your possession and you should have them both for 400.

Now I want [you] to write me a line saying frankly if this sum by [sic] more than you contemplated - and do not be at all influenced by the fact that an unknown has made enquiries about the Rose & Silver - For that may mean nothing - the price, not being in the Catalogue, he may not be at all prepared for - and again he may turn out to be some objectionable Briton, to whose care I might not choose to consign the [p. 3] little pink lady! -

I have told Walton[7] that when the time comes I am going to take it from the Grafton that it may go to the R. W. S. in Edinburgh -

With my very kindest regards to Mrs. Cowan[8] and yourself
Always sincerely Yrs

J McNeill Whistler

They have taken in the Baronet's production[9] at the New English Art Club, and hung their shame upon their walls!!

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [16 November 1896]
Date inserted at the top of the sheet in what appears to be Cowan's hand.

2.  John James Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more].

3.  Rose & Silver - Portrait
Rose and Silver: Portrait of Mrs Whibley (M.1415).

4.  Grafton
It was exhibited at the 6th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1896.

5.  Secretary
Archibald James Stuart-Wortley (1849-1905), painter, first President of the Society of Portrait Painters [more].

6.  girl with the sleeping baby
Rose and Pink - the Mother's sleep (M.1300), which Cowan purchased shortly afterwards for 100 guineas (see JW's receipt, #00721).

7.  Walton
Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922), painter [more].

8.  Mrs. Cowan
Sophy Cowan (b. ca 1850), née Gillespie, wife of J. J. Cowan [more].

9.  Baronet's production
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], with whom JW was in longstanding dispute over the delivery of a portrait, Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408).