The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 94th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1862
Record 9 of 14

System Number: 09187
Date: 18 October [1862][1]
Author: JW
Place: Guéthary
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 06 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS[3]

Maison de la Croix
Chez Mons. Louis Daguerre
Deparment [sic] des Basses Pyrenees

Oct. 18th

Dear Lucas -

I am going to throw this at random into your street, hoping it may hit your number, for I fear I have forgotten it - I was only a day in Paris on my way here, or should have found you out - but I intend to spend a week there on my way back to London and then I hope we shall see a great deal of you - I wrote[4] to you long ago from London, telling you much that had happened to me, and asking if I should take rooms for your intended visit to the exhibition[5] - but I never got a word in reply - so I supposed you out of town - Now I want the assistance of your good taste - I am painting a couple of pictures and wish on my arrival in Paris to have frames ready for them - Will you have the great kindness to order them for me from your frame [p. 2] -maker? - The first is for a sea piece[6] of deep tone, and I should like it to be something like the one I had for the painting[7] I brought from Brittany last year (which you remember) richly carved, and bold - deep and rather broad; massive[8] but not cumbersome, and well finished.

Not dear though, mon cher, if possible.

The canvass [sic] is one of the regular French dimension, "toile de soixante[9]" - The second[10] is a "toile de vingt[11]" for which I want a very pretty frame, highly finished, brilliant and rich - deep also, and rather broad. This is an order and will hang in a drawing room, so that the finish must not be neglected -

Will you, like a jolly good fellow, order these two for me at once, and have them done as satisfactorily as are your own charming frames in your collection, and then drop me a line to let me know what will be the price - do this and I shall be infinitely obliged to you -

Jo[12], who is with me, sends her love to yourself and Madame[13], to whom make my compliments - We think of going to Madrid[14] [p. 3] - on our journey home, to see the Velasquez! -

Have you seen Tom Winans[15] and family? George[16] is due in London or Paris, and I suppose you will meet him shortly, if so give a fellow some news -

Do write at once[17] or I shall suppose you absent and not know what to do -

Ever Yours,

Jim Whistler

My address
Maison de la Croix Chez Mons. Louis Daguerre
Departement des Basses Pyrenées

'toile[18] d 20 } canaux 130
               } " [poles?] brun 150


20 = 19 centimetres = 150.0 [2 or 3 figures illegible]
60 = 22 = 190 - on 200 fs'

[p. 4, Design for a picture frame[19]]

This document is protected by copyright.


'Jimmy[20] Whistler, Oct 18th 1862 ansd October 22nd do'

Monsieur George Lucas
Rue de l'Arc de Triomphe, 40. ou 41[21]. ou 42.
[postmark[22]:] ST JEAN DE LUZ / 18 / OCT / 62
[postmark on verso:] [ESTERNES?] / 20 / OCT / 62

'31/4 x 5/4[23]'


1.  Oct. 18th [1862]
Lucas recorded in his diary for 20 October 1862: 'Recd letter from Jimmy Whistler from Pyrenees asking me to order 2 frames.' (Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, vol. 2, p. 143). The postmark is dated 18 October 1862. However, according to the almanac, JW's date of 'Thursday' applies to 16, and not 18 October 1862.

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, no. II, at p. 249.

4.  wrote
JW's letter of 26 June [1862], #01977.

5.  exhibition
International Exhibition, South Kensington Museum, opened on 1 May and closed on 1 November 1862 (see 'The International Exhibition', The Times, 3 November 1862, p. 7).

6.  sea piece
Probably Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41), although it measures 61 x 87.6 cm, which is neither a 'toile de soixante' nor a 'toile de vingt' (see below).

7.  painting
The Coast of Brittany (YMSM 37).

8.  massive
Word inserted above line.

9.  toile de soixante
Fr., a canvas stretcher for a marine painting measuring 130 x 81 cm. (see Sea Piece (YMSM 43). Lucas ordered the frames at Dutocq's on 21 October and went with JW to see them on 2 December 1862 (Lucas diary, Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, vol. 2, pp. 143, 145).

10.  second
See Subject Unknown (YMSM 42).

11.  toile de vingt
Fr., A canvas stretcher measuring either 73 x 60 cm (for landscape paintings) or 73 x 50 cm (for marine paintings).

12.  Jo
Joanna Hiffernan (b. ca 1843), JW's model and mistress [more].

13.  Madame
Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more].

14.  Madrid
Whistler planned to visit the Museo del Prado in Madrid to see the works of Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), painter [more]. However, he only made it as far as the small Spanish border town of Fuenterrabia.

15.  Tom Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

16.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

17.  at once
Double underlined.

18.  toile ... 200 fs
These notes were added in pencil, probably by Lucas.

19.  Design for a picture frame
Design for a picture frame (M.308). This pen sketch shows the cross-section of a picture frame.

20.  Jimmy ... 22nd do
Written in another hand, probably that of Lucas.

21.  41
Lucas's address was no. 41.

22.  postmark
A second postmark is illegible, being half off the envelope flap.

23.  31/4 x 5/4
This note was written in Lucas's hand, but on what subject is not clear.