The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886
Record 25 of 54

System Number: 08713
Date: [10 April 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Messrs Dowdeswell[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: ALS

Here you are -

Raw umber[3] - with a little yellow ochre and raw Sienna with white -

Keep it light like the left side of the Butterfly -

Get the Observer[4] tomorrow -

I shall turn up soon -

[butterfly signature]

[p. 2] Top[5].

[p. 3] Top.

This document is protected by copyright.


Messrs Dowdeswell -
133. New Bond Street


1.  [10 April 1886]
Dated from reference to the Observer.

2.  Messrs Dowdeswell
Firm of London dealers and printsellers.

3.  Raw umber
This relates to preparations for JW's exhibition, 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886, and the brown and gold decorative scheme that JW devised for the gallery. See Design for mouldings for Messrs Dowdeswell (M.1103) in MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.

4.  Observer
JW is referring to a letter he had just written to the editor (Observer, 11 April 1886, #11342). It responded to a report on the recent sale of the collection of William Graham (1817-1885), MP and collector [more], at Christie and Manson's auction rooms. The sale included JW's Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140), then known as 'Nocturne in Blue and Silver.' The report stated that when displayed before the crowd, 'it was received with hisses.' A week later, JW solemnly responded: 'It is rare that recognition, so complete, is made during the lifetime of the painter, and I would wish to have recorded my full sense of the flattering exception in my favour.' See Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to the Editor], The Observer, 11 April 1886, and #11342, reproduced in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 176. See also a report in the Saturday Review, 10 April 1886, and reference in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2. p. 59.

5.  Top
This is an inscription on the enclosed sketch for a decorative design (Design for mouldings for Messrs Dowdeswell (M.1103)).