The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886
Record 5 of 54

System Number: 08676
Date: [1/14 May 1884 or 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Charles William Dowdeswell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: AL[f][3]

Dear Mr Dowdeswell -

Your man of the 'Viaduct'[4] is really too foolish and provoking -

I have already given him both pen & ink drawing[5] and pencil outline - for I suppose you did get my note the card all right by post yesterday morning - I posted it myself the night before - and that had the outline of the butterfly drawn in pencil as your engraver wished - also on the back [p. 2] of the card I had pasted the pen & ink sketch to show him the relative position of the letter press and margin as compared with his own work - always meaning him to get the lettering still more compact and smaller, as I supposed you would have told him -

Now how am I without that card back again, to draw the exact size of the butterfly? -

And why wont the butterfly on the card do? - What the engraver ought to do would be to trace the outline of the inked butterfly, (which is a perfect one), using the pencil drawing to guide him -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1/14 May 1884 or 1886?]
The letter probably relates to plans for 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884, which opened on 17 May, or the second shows of the same name in 1886.

2.  Charles William Dowdeswell
The letter is most probably to Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915), art dealer [more], although it could possibly be to Charles Dowdeswell (m. 1897), art dealer, son of C. W. Dowdeswell [more].

3.  AL[f]
It seems probable that the final page (or pages) of this letter is missing.

4.  man of the 'Viaduct'
Probably the printer.

5.  pen & ink drawing
Not located. The letter shows JW's obsessive concern with every detail of the exhibition, including, here, the private view card. Some private view cards were drawn by hand (see #00857, although this document might not have been intended as the final version).