The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures, and Photography, Dublin Sketching Club, Leinster Hall, Dublin, 1884
Record 3 of 12

System Number: 07908
Date: [8 January 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: St Ives, Cornwall
Recipient: Charles William Deschamps[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/23/5
Document Type: ALS


14. Barnoon Terrace. St Ives. Cornwall -

Dear Deschamps -

I take it for granted that you have as yet thought out nothing in the matter of which I spoke to you or I should have heard - Now - I want you to undertake and carry out thoroughly the sending, for me, of some pictures to Brussels - You doubtless know that there is to be an Exposition[4] there almost immediately after the manner of the one in the Rue de Sèze[5] - To this I have been invited as "representing English Painting!'['] - You will see from the letter of Mons. Maus[6] what ought to be done -

Also I enclose Mr. Alexander's[7] letter, with which you can at once take away the portrait you know so well of Miss Alexander[8] - [p. 2] This you will have properly rubbed up with silk handkerchief etc. and finally pack and send to the Société des XX Brussels -

Of course I have been very negligent - and I forget the exact date by which the things must be there - Couldn't you know this? - The Society pays all expenses - except I believe the insurance - This last you must have done for me - (insure this Miss Alexander for £1000.) - I should like, if there be time, that you should put this portrait in a nice light in your inner room that it may be seen by one or two ladies who will call on Thursday or Friday -

Then also you may take from my Studio the picture of Miss Corder[9] - and send it - this insure also for £1000 - I have written to Lady Meux[10] to borrow her pink portrait - if I may I shall telegraph to you - Also I expect the large Nocturne of the Sea[11], that was in the Grosvenor, will be sent to us from Liverpool - At my Studio you will also take the little 'Nocturne blue & silver[12]' that my man Carr[13] will give you - (insure for £500) Manage with the people in Brussels that a glass shall be put to this picture when it reaches there - Also will you call on Mr Huth[14] and persuade him for me to lend the little Symphony in White No. 3[15] - you can show him this letter and explain my anxiety that this work should be seen abroad where it would be so well understood - also say that the Exhibition only lasts a month and he would have back his picture on the first days of March - Then you might call on Mr. J. Gerald Potter[16], 2 Ennismore Gardens Princes Gate, and showing him this letter, beg him to lend the 'little White Girl'[.] He would have it back in plenty of time for the Season -

Wire me back at once that all this shall be attended to for me - and then I will see that certain etchings[17] are brought to you in their frames - but the glasses must be taken out in order that no damage be done on the journey and they must all be glazed in Brussels - this you will arrange - Doubtless by the way the Société have an agent for packing and sending in London - Do find out - possibly Green - or Bourlet[18] - or someone I have forgotten - What Mons Maus Specially wants to know is the list of names for his Catalogue, and this I cannot send until I know what are [sic] going - Be sure you have affixed on backs of frames the proper title [p. 3] of each picture in French - as for instance,
"Arrangement en Gris et Vert -
Portrait de Mlle A—"
"Nocturne en Bleu et Argent" - etc - -

I am here doing a lot of curious little games[19] -

When in the Studio you may just cast your Eye round gently and I think you will perceive that "business" might be hinted at on the walls -

But you can only have a slight slight peep until I come back - Did you see my letter about 'Arry' last week in the World[20]? - you should look at the number of the week before in which there was a paragraph to which my letter refers.

Now wire first that I may know if you undertake all this for me - and then write -

Yours sincerely

J McNeill Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


Important - immediate[21]

Charles Deschamps -
Corner of Old Bond St & Piccadilly
over Messrs Christy -

[butterfly signature]

[postmark:] JA 8 / 00 / CORNWALL
[postmark on verso:] LONDON. W / JA 9 / 84


1.  [8 January 1884]
Dated by postmark.

2.  Charles William Deschamps
Charles William Deschamps (1848-1908), art dealer [more]. See also JW's letter of thanks to Deschamps (#07902).

3.  '12'
Added in another hand.

4.  Exposition
[Exposition], Société des XX (Vingts), Brussels, 1884.

5.  Rue de Sèze
Exposition Internationale de Peinture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1883.

6.  Mons. Maus
Octave Maus (1856-1919), advocate, writer and art critic [more], was the moving force behind the Société des XX, and invited JW to contribute to their first exhibition in 1884. The selection was modestly progressive. JW and William Stott were the invited artists from Britain, William Merritt Chase and John Singer Sargent for the USA. JW was again invited to participate in 1888, but the vigorous opposition of James Ensor prevented his election to membership. Works exhibited were Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61), Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103), Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203), Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129) and Venice etchings (see list by Maus, #07910).

7.  Mr Alexander's
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more].

8.  Miss Alexander
Alexander wrote to JW on 5 January 1884 (#07579) about the loan of Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129).

9.  picture of Miss Corder
Rosa Frances Corder (1853-1884), artist [more], posed for Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203).

10.  written to Lady Meux
Lady Valerie Susan ('Susie') Meux (1847-1910), née Langdon, collector and patroness [more]. JW wrote to her asking for Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (YMSM 229). It was not lent to Brussels, but shown in Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures, and Photography, Dublin Sketching Club, Leinster Hall, Dublin, 1884 later in the year (#07928).

11.  Nocturne of the Sea
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Bognor (YMSM 100) was exhibited at 7th Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1883.

12.  'Nocturne blue & silver'
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103).

13.  Carr
Carr, JW's servant or valet.

14.  Mr Huth
Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more].

15.  Symphony in White No. 3
Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61).

16.  Mr Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more], owned Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52).

17.  certain etchings
Probably from Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5).

18.  Green - or Bourlet
James Bourlet (b. ca 1852), art dealer, of Bourlet and Sons, Ltd [more]. Green has not been identified.

19.  curious little games
Numerous small scale works in oil and watercolour reveal this as an important period in JW's artistic development (see YMSM 263-288; M.915-921). Many of them were exhibited in 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.

20.  letter about 'Arry' last week in the World
This was probably Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to Atlas], The World: A Journal For Men and Women, no. 496, vol. 20, 2 January 1884, p. 17. 'Arry was Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more]. Quilter purchased JW's studio house the White House after his bankruptcy in 1879. The 'paragraph' to which JW refers was published in the World on 26 December 1883 ('Atlas,' vol. 19, no. 495, p. 10).

21.  Important - immediate
Double underlined.