UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: World, The (London)
Record 13 of 168

System Number: 11987
Date: [25 November 1878?][1]
Author: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: London
Recipient: Walker Martineau and Company[3]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: MsDc[4]


In the High Court of Justice
Queens Bench Division

'834[5]'

Whistler
- v -
Ruskin[6]

Copy
Extracts from Newspapers comprised in Plaintiffs Notice to admit

'F. 79'

Walker Martineau & Co

[p. 2] The Architect[7]
July 14 - 1877

Lastly, the mannerisms and errors of these pictures, whatever may be their extent are never affected or indolent. The Work is natural to the Painter, however strange to us, and it is wrought with utmost conscience of care, however far to his own or our desire the result may yet be incomplete - Scarcely so much can be said of any other Pictures of the modern Schools; their eccentricities are almost always in some degree forced; and their imperfections gratuitously, if not impertinently indulged. For Mr Whistler's own sake, no less than for the protection of the purchaser, Sir Coutts Lindsay[8] ought not to have admitted Works into the Gallery in which the ill-educated conceit of the Artist so nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture - I have seen and heard much of Cockney impudence before now, but never expected to hear a Coxcomb ask 200 Guineas[9] for flinging a pot of paint in the Public's face.

[p. 3] The World
July 18 - 1877

In the last number of Fors Clavigera, Mr Ruskin liberates his soul about the Grosvenor Gallery thus,

"Sir Coutts Lindsay is at present an Amateur in Art and Shopkeeping, He must take up either one or the other business if he would prosper in either - If he intends to manage the Grosvenor Gallery rightly he must not put his own Works[10] in it until he can answer for their quality: if he means to be a Painter he must not at present superintend the erection of Public Buildings, or amuse himself with their decoration by China and Upholstery. The Upholstery of the Grosvenor Gallery is poor in itself and very grievously injurious to the the best pictures it contains; while its glitter as unjustly veils the vulgarity of the worst"

Of Mr Whistler he says:

"Scarcely so much can be said for any other pictures of the modern Schools their eccentricities are almost always in some degree forced, and their imperfections gratuitously if not [p. 4] impertinently indulged - For Mr Whistler's own sake, no less than for the protection of the purchaser Sir Coutts Lindsey ought not to have admitted Works into the Gallery in which the ill-educated conceit of the Artist so nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture. I have seen and heard much of Cockney impudence before now, but never expected to hear a Coxcomb ask Two hundred Guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face"

In the same Number Mr Ruskin calls Mr Gordon Smith[11] a "Goose"[,] says that the Professorship of Sir Henry Cole[12] at Kensington

"Has corrupted the system of Art teaching all over England into a state of abortion and falsehood from which it will take 20 years to recover"

Also says that,

"The Professorships of Messrs Agnew[13] at Manchester have covered the walls of that Metropolis with exchangeable property on the exchanges of which the Dealer always makes a commission and to which perhaps one canvas in a hundred is of some intrinsic value [p. 5] and may be hereafter put to quite a permanant use.

This is pleasant reading - I think I shall subscribe to the Fors Clavigera.

[p. 6] The Athenaem
July 21 - 1877

It is reported to be Mr Whistler's intention to bring an Action for Libel, or something analogous to that, against Mr Ruskin, on account of opinions expressed with regard to the Artist, his Works or both, we do not gather which.


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

1.  [25 November 1878?]
The case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.

2.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more]. This document was passed with JW's legal papers by Rose to the Library of Congress.

3.  Walker Martineau and Company
Lawyers representing Ruskin.

4.  MsDc
This document consists of handwritten copies of three newspaper articles used as evidence in the Whistler v. Ruskin case.

5.  834
Addd in another hand, possibly by J. A. Rose.

6.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

7.  The Architect
This is an excerpt from Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213.

8.  Coutts Lindsay
Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913), Bart., co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery [more]. JW exhibited seven oils at the 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877 (cat. nos. 5, 6A, 6, 4, 8, 9 and one ex. cat). These were Nocturne in Blue and Silver (YMSM 113), Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140) as 'Nocturne in Blue and Silver', Nocturne: Grey and Gold - Westminster Bridge (YMSM 145), Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) as 'Harmony in Amber and Black', Arrangement in Brown (YMSM 182) and Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain (YMSM 187). Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137), was exhibited in the entrance gallery (ex. cat.).

9.  200 Guineas
This was the price of Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170).

10.  Works
Coutts Lindsay was an amateur artist.

11.  Gordon Smith
Unidentified.

12.  Henry Cole
Sir Henry ('King') Cole (1808-1882), civil servant and museum director [more]. The title and position of Cole and Lindsey were being used by JW's lawyers to suggest Ruskin was extreme in his criticism of others beside JW.

13.  Agnew
William Agnew (1825-1910), art dealer [more].