The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881
Record 5 of 49

System Number: 01109
Date: 1 October 1880
Author: Ernest George Brown[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Venice]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F40
Document Type: ALS

32 Lyme St
Camden Town

Oct 1st 1880

Dear Mr Whistler,

We are very much disappointed at not hearing or seeing anything of you. It is really not proper treatment and I can assure you it is a great loss to yourself. You promised to be back in December last and at that time we had a very attractive exhibition and I had prepared everybody for the coming Venice etchings[2][.] We sent out hundreds of catalogues and promised them daily until people grew sick of asking about them and the interest has quite died out. We then hoped they would come in the Spring [p. 2] for our exhibition of the Defence of Rorkes Drift[3]. Fifty thousand people paid to see the picture and it would have been a fine chance to show them. When you wrote and ordered the frames[4] I again told a number of collectors that you would be back in a week or so but since the interest has entirely died out and it has become quite a joke against us. Besides this etchings have been published in hundreds since you have been away and people are glutted with them. At this time of the Year we have a great many Americans over and I could have sold some to them. When you started I felt quite as much interested in their [p. 3] success on your behalf as on our own and should have been glad to see them pay you well but however good they are it will not be the same as if we had had them before[.] My object in writing now is to tell you that we are about to have an exhibition of etchings on a large scale and it will be a very bad thing for you if you have to come after it. We shall take 12 of the first living etchers[5] and I exhibit the finest examples of their work. Goulding[6] will print the etchings in the room. Now, will you be back to let us have a show of your etchings? If so you must be back in London within a [p. 4] fortnight. Cannot you send us a set of the etchings to take orders from and we could exhibit the pastels[7] afterwards. I assure [you] it is very much to your interest to do so. Will you reply to me at once[8] so that I may make the proper arrangements. I shall hope to have an answer one way or the other within a few days

Yours very truly

Ernest G. Brown

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1.  Ernest George Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more].

2.  Venice etchings
JW's oeuvre in Venice comprised Venice work: JW's etchings (K.183-232, 240), pastels (M.725-828) and oils (YMSM 211-222). The Fine Art Society published Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5). Etchings of Venice, were exhibited at the Fine Art Society, London, December 1880.

3.  Defence of Rorkes Drift
Painted by Alphonse-Marie De Neuville (1835-1885), battle painter and illustrator [more].

4.  frames

5.  12 of the first living etchers
Exhibition at the Fine Art Society in December 1880.

6.  Goulding
Frederick Goulding (1842-1909), printer and print-maker [more].

7.  exhibit the pastels
Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881.

8.  at once
Double underlined.