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 10 of 12

System Number: 08109
Date: [4/11 December 1884?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: William Booth Pearsall[2]
Place: [Dublin]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/40/5
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr. Pearsall -

How can it ever have been supposed that I offered the picture of my mother[3] for sale! -

Do me the favour of telling the gentleman who was considering the matter, that the painting was never other than lent - as

I had understood from Lawless[4] that it had been especially asked for - chosen because of its having been so much talked of in Paris after its exhibition in the Salon[5] - therefore I made Messrs. Graves[6] forward it to Dublin - but certainly I should never dream of disposing of it -

Again very many thanks for [p. 2] your warmth in my cause! - but I fear dear Mr. Pearsall that if you once take up the cudgels for Whistler, you will pass the rest of your days in strife! - I like fighting - but do not wish to involve all my friends, among whom I trust that I may count you - in my battles! - One thing however I should like very much - to see all the articles[7] that may have been written about these irritating pictures - especially the scurrilous ones - for it is a joy to me to see the loutish underbred method of mine enemies, who rave and tare [sic] their hair and blunder with their bludgeons and touch me never! - while it is my wicked pleasure to watch them in their agonies of impotent rage, and to pink them over and over again in the same dainty cicatrice that covers the cruel wound! Do send me at once all that they have said these gentlemen - and your own answers [8]- I should be so pleased - As to the selling of the little pictures[9] - I am quite willing to do as you suggest - I leave to your own discretion the matter - If the prices are more than you think your friends can well entertain[,] pray arrange with them - Instead of fifty guineas - say forty if you like - instead of twenty say fifteen - and so on - in short I leave it to you -

But again I ought to apologize for the trouble you have -

As to the lecture question[10] I must think it all over and write soon for I am not quite my own master as to time or engagements - However you shall know shortly -

With kindest regards to Mr. Lawless and yourself

Always sincerely Yrs

J. McN. Whistler

13. Tite Street, Chelsea

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1.  [4/11 December 1884?]
Dated by sequence of letters referring to an exhibition (see below).

2.  William Booth Pearsall
William Booth Pearsall (1845-1913), dentist, Dublin exhibition organiser [more].

3.  picture of my mother
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) was later sold to the Musée du Luxembourg. According to Pearsall, Rt. Hon. Jonathan Hogg (1847-1930), PC, collector [more], offered to purchase both the Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) and Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) 'which seemed to promise well, but ultimately stopped.' Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 36.

4.  Lawless
Hon. Frederick Lawless (1847-1929), sculptor [more].

5.  Salon
101st exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1883.

6.  Messrs Graves
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) was security for a loan to JW from H. Graves and Company.

7.  articles
Pearsall described how, 'The exhibition was hardly open, before a critical music began, and, in the papers and in conversation, a regular tempest arose, that was highly diverting to Mr Whistler. He begged me to send him everything said about the exhibition, good, bad and indifferent, and his letters show he quite enjoyed all the heat and ferment.' (Pennell, op. cit., p. 36). JW's press-cutting books include some reviews of his exhibits. For instance, Pink note - The Novelette (M.900)was mentioned in the Dublin Daily Express and Irish Times on 1 December 1884.

8.  your own answers
Not located.

9.  little pictures
Nocturne in grey and gold - Piccadilly (M.862) and Sunrise; gold and grey (M.917) were bought by Jonathan Hogg (see W. P. Pearsall to JW, #08108).

10.  lecture question
Although JW did not go over to Dublin, he was already planning the 'Ten O'Clock' Lecture, which was delivered in Princes Hall, London, on 20 February 1885, and on several occasions later in the year (see Pennell, op. cit., p. 36).