The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 5th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895
Record 9 of 13

System Number: 03405
Date: [18 October 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Lyme Regis
Recipient: Thomas Robert Way[2]
Place: London
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 159
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

The Royal Lion Hotel. Lyme Regis

Now Tom, I have an idea - that we will act upon at once. Print me a common proof on the ordinary white printing paper of the Sunny Smithy - the Father & Son, - the two Brothers - the single figure of the Blacksmith[4], one of the last set, and mark upon the stone four points, top & bottom, and one upon each side, like this (X), and we will have [p. 2] a second stone for each!! to be printed with the same ink - or perhaps even in another tone - and then we shall see something perhaps remarkable! -

Now you understand -

[sketch[5] of a rectangle with four 'X's]

You see then with my proof I can work on my transparent paper over it and making the same marks you can fit the second stone[6] - Let us try this at once -

With kindest regards [p. 1] to your Father[7] -

[butterfly signature]

Did you go to New Gallery? and how do you both like my little head[8]?

This document is protected by copyright.


Thomas R. Way. Junr.
21. Wellington Street
[stamp:] [POSTAGE AND REVENUE ...]
[postmark:] LYME.REGIS / C / OC 18 / 95
[postmark:] [LONDON] W. C. / S. M. P. / 7K / OC 19 / 95


1.  [18 October 1895]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Thomas Robert Way
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), printer, lithographer and painter [more].

3.  ALS
Published by Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 139, no. 146.

4.  Blacksmith
The lithographs mentioned are: The Sunny Smithy (C.121), Father and Son (C.123), The Blacksmith (C.127), and The Brothers (C.128). They had failed to transfer properly from the lithographic paper on which JW had drawn them, to the stone for printing in London. The first two drawings were among the seven Way had received by September 28 (see T. R. Way to JW, 28 September 1895, #06122 and JW to T. R. Way, [29/30 September 1895], #03408). The Blacksmith and The Brothers were two of a later group which, according to this letter, also failed to transfer properly (see JW to T. R. Way, [10 October 1895], #03404).

5.  sketch
Register marks for printing lithographs (M.1442).

6.  second stone
T. R. Way had suggested using a second stone and transparent transfer paper for adding work to Nude Model, Reclining (C.73) in November 1893 (see T. R. Way to JW, 30 November 1893, #06105). Proofs of Father and Son, The Blacksmith, and The Brothers, each with registration marks, are at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. However, according to Way, JW never pursued the idea of using transfer paper for this purpose, and later worked directly on the stones (Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, p. 116; see Spink, op. cit.).

7.  Father
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more]. 'to your ... head' is written in the left and top margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

8.  head
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441), on show at 5th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895.