Documents associated with: The Victorian Exhibition illustrating fifty years of Her Majesty's Reign, 1837-1887, New Gallery, London, 1891-92
Record 1 of 4
System Number: 09451
Date: [20/25 May 1884?]
Recipient: Thomas Waldo Story
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/61/8
Document Type: ALS
Why are you not here - I do miss you so - My Show is foolish and sad without you - and things are queer and I do want so much to talk to you! Edward the Prince is most princely and superb on his steed with dignity and dainty work such as we alone can offer - We cannot do other - and the destiny of the pearl is of course ours!! - What will you! - We speak to the people a language they do not [p. 2] understand - and those about us who stutter and drivel are listened to with respect, and their common dulnesses [sic] accepted as eloquence and wisdom combined -
The little figure, lovely and light, is badly placed - and some monstrous matter of Browning fils, is lifted on high! - I am in bad odour with the Grosvenor - and have been egregiously insulted - however - no matter - that we can see to - Meantime I have done my best with Beck - Carr is more or less out of it, poor chap - good natured but occupied with his plays -
Hallé I have nothing to say to - and Sir Coutts has been too horrid - without meaning to affront me - which makes it worse! - One's enemies one can deal with - one's friends are most dangerous - The fact is, Beck told me, that you were at a great disadvantage because of the late arrival of your things, (a sort of fatalité of ours my dear Waldo!) that all the good places were taken - they were by the way in a dreadful hurry about the Private View - and that now they cannot disarrange things -
I talked to him however - meeting him happily at the little Hogarth Club eating his lunch - so that I could chat to him - and I took the tone of supposing that after all he  was the one who could do the thing while others were talking about the impossibility - Well he promised that when the little bronze girl came (she wasn't there yesterday for I went in again purposely to see) he would do his best - I told him of course that it [p. 3] was absurd that the horrors should be on pedestals and that these two only lovely things in the Gallery should be comparatively elbowed about - and that it would be so easy just to move one thing and put another in its place - Well - well - nous verons[sic]! Every thing however is more or less dull without you - so do come over - do come -
I am tired and disgusted - also really indignant - Since writing what they call "the Above", I have been with Harper through the Academy - There is no word in the languages I am more or less in the habit of speaking that can at all convey an idea of the dodering [sic] senility and drivelling incapacity that have covered the walls of that Bazaar! - No matter - ! - Only how dare they discuss me at all! - My 'Lady Archie' is magnificent - and how do you delight in the Catalogue I have sent you? - Do like a dear good Waldo forgive all my horrid silence and write and tell me - You know I have never told you how nice and loyal it was in you to send at once all you had in the bank to me! - but you know I felt it deeply Waldo - and as little Milly sings, "No matter what you do, if your 'art is only true - and his 'art is true!" - - - - !
Oscar is awfully fat and is to be married on Thursday
Goodbye Waldo for the present - My kindest and best regards and Compliments to Mrs Waldo
1. [20/25 May 1884?]
Dated from references to Maud Franklin and Oscar Wilde (see notes below).
'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.
6. Browning fils
Robert Barrett Browning (1846-1912), genre painter and sculptor [more] exhibited two bronze busts at the Grosvenor in 1884, the second entitled J. B. Browning, Pompilia (z185) (cat. nos. 423-4).
8th Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1884.
11. Sir Coutts
Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913), Bart., co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery [more], had expressed to JW his feeling that Arrangement en couleur chair et noir: Portrait de Théodore Duret (YMSM 252), looked unfinished.
12. Hogarth Club
A gentleman's dining club, frequented by artists and those interested in the visual arts.
14. bronze girl
A statuette by Story.
15. nous verons
Fr., we shall see.
16. I am tired
The rest of the letter was completed by JW in smaller writing.
The brown paper covered catalogue for 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.
20. little Milly
Possibly a music hall singer, not identified.
Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more]; she exhibited three watercolours of flowers at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1884: Sweet Peas, (cat. no. 298); Twin Marguerites, (cat. no. 376) and Marguerites, (cat. no. 377).
'very' is double underlined.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. Wilde wrote to Story, whom he, like JW, addressed as 'Waldino', describing his engagement to Constance Lloyd: 'we are of course desperately in love ... However, she knows I am the greatest poet, so in literature she is all right: and I have explained to her that you are the greatest sculptor: art instruction can go no further' (#12626; Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, p. 225-26). The marriage took place on 29 May 1884.