The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886
Record 2 of 54

System Number: 09420
Date: [January 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: St Ives
Recipient: Thomas Waldo Story[2]
Place: [London?]
Repository: Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
Document Type: ALS

St Ives. Cornwall! -

Now Waldo

I want about fifty pounds[3] - Do you think you can manage to get me this or any part of it -

Of course I have lots to tell you but it must be put off until I am a little further on -

I have done delightful things - and have a wonderful game to play soon - but meantime of course I have simply been living as we like to live while working you know how - and so by [p. 2] dint of always writing cheques have nearly written up everything in the Bank! -

Now when my exhibition comes off I have plenty of amazing little beauties - new game[4]! - that will bring golden ducats - like the pastels[5] - but meantime I dont want to sell any of them nor do I want to ask the Fine Art Society[6] to advance anything if I can help it - so now write at once and say and send if you can - But Waldino don't be worried about me though, if you can't easily manage it at this moment -

Dear me I wish you could have been here with us - Walter and the madman[7] and I - such a lovely sea side business - and warm for England too -

I carry away some things you would be delighted with I fancy - and I have such an idea for a new game. -

However I will tell you all when I get back to the Studio -

Write to me there - Tite Street - as usual, for I shall go back to town in a day or [p. 3] two -

Harper[8] has been elected to the Beefsteak and I put him down to the Fielding and he has been elected there too -

Shall I put you up at the Fielding? -

Do write at once Waldo - and any thing you can mind you do!! -

Did you see the last at Arry[9]? - I believe you get the World over there - if so look at Dec. 26th (Bodley) - and then the week after, Jan 2nd: my letter[10] in reference to his paragraph - Amazing! -

I will send the cuttings when [I] reach Town -


[butterfly signature]

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1.  [January 1884]
Dated by address; JW spent January 1884 at St Ives in Cornwall.

2.  Waldo Story
Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more].

3.  fifty pounds
JW was desperate for money, as he also mentioned in a letter to H. E. Whistler (#08164).

4.  little beauties - new game
The word 'little' is double underlined. Numerous small scale works in oil, such as The Angry Sea (YMSM 282), and watercolour, such as Sunrise; gold and grey (M.917), reveal this as an important period in JW's artistic development (see YMSM 263-288; M.915-921). Many of them were shown at 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.

5.  pastels
JW's two main attempts to sell pastels were at Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881 and 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886. He exhibited them in small groups in Europe and America. Some collectors such as Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more], and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more], amassed very important collections of pastels. See also #08164.

6.  Fine Art Society
The Fine Art Society, Bond Street dealers, who had published Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5). JW was still printing the edition.

7.  Walter and the madman
Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more], and Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more]. The word 'madman' is not entirely clear (it could have been read 'madame') but as far as is known Menpes was the third party.

8.  Harper
Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington (1854-1920), artist [more]. JW was a member of several private men's clubs, including the Beefsteak Club and the Fielding, and extended his patronage to his younger colleagues by getting them elected. It was an expensive practise and he was slow in paying his membership fees.

9.  Arry
Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more].

10.  Dec. 26th (Bodley) - and then the week after, Jan 2nd: my letter
John Edward Courtenay Bodley (1853-1925), lawyer [more]; see World, 26 December 1883 and 2 January 1884, Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.24; #11398. There are similar references to the papers in #09420, #03607, #10690, #10979.