UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Reform Club
Record 10 of 12

System Number: 05042
Date: 24 June 1895
Author: Francis Gerard Prange[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P682
Document Type: ALS


24 June 1895

[embossed circular crest with crown:] THE REFORM CLUB

My dear Maitre,

I am a graceless creature and suffer by comparison with St Paul[2] who wrote letters without getting answers - Whereas I do the reverse.

And now years have passed over our heads since I received your cheery letter. Oscar[3] has gone to where beyond these voices there is piece (work) = W. G Grace[4] has become "Bob" [p. 2] Grace - and the Government is out "by - "God"!

Roseberry[5] is well tired of it and I don't wonder = as yet nothing is known, but a dissolution is sure and a swinging Unionist majority pretty certain = but the word "pol[i]tics surprises by itself."

Let us to socialities. = We, who are all for purity - sobriety & infamy generally, mean to agitate for the prose-[p. 3]cution of several notorious Dames who have [very?] Wilde moments & lead away the young Damoiselles from their natural destinations[6]. What is sauce for the gander - shall be sauce for the goose. = We will not rest till this object has been attained

Pictures. London is much diversified by the constant presence of all the Paris Dealers and what between them & our indigenous idiots early English Art has found a recognition in [p. 4] which you do not join, I feel sure =

The French had to give up the fight - last week = one of them said "vaut aviant [sic][7] aller en enfer acheter de l'eau"

Agnew[8] - angry at not being employed to buy by some of the African nouveaux riches[9], said "if they want the pictures they shall have to come to No 3. Old Bond St - for them" and if Davis[10], or [Goodern?] said £100, he said £200 & hence these tears. [p. 5] I can't help thinking that good modern work will have a lift soon! - "Le qu'il y en a[11]".

Did you know old Doetsch[12] who collected thro' our unforgettable Howell[13] - ? he has gone to heaven & this collection to Christies - where what Howell got hundreds for is dispersed for fivers

Why don't these millionaires employ an honest Gondolier like myself.

[p. 6] Portrait Society[14] meets today a week - have sent you summons. - It will drag along for another year & then burst into a great success.

A prop[os] - your Mrs Sickert[15] has come back from Edinburgh - Where shall I send it - O whither!

I hope to embrace you shortly and to eat savage strawberries with you. The cursed Ex[hibition]s. are open till July 1 n'est ce pas[16]?

Please remember me very warmly to Mrs Whistler[17] & know that I am most cordially yrs

F G Prange


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Notes:

1.  Francis Gerard Prange
Francis Gerard Prange (b. ca 1843), London art dealer [more].

2.  St Paul
Saint Paul ('Saul of Tarsus') (10 BC-65/67 AD), Christian missionary and writer.

3.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. He had been sentenced to hard labour.

4.  W. G Grace
Dr William Gilbert Grace (1848-1915), cricketer and physician [more]. In 1895 he scored his 100th century at Bristol for Gloucestershire v. Somersetshire.

5.  Roseberry
Archibald Philip Primrose (1847-1929), MP, 5th Earl of Roseberry [more].

6.  natural destinations
The Labouchère amendment on which Wilde was prosecuted referrred only to male homosexuality. Presumably Prange is here referring to lesbians, who were certainly not liable to prosecution.

7.  vaut aviant ... l'eau
Fr., it's just like going to hell buy water.

8.  Agnew
Agnew, London dealers.

9.  African nouveaux riches
Possibly South African mining magnates.

10.  Davis
Possibly a dealer.

11.  Le qu'il y en a
Fr., this is how things stand.

12.  old Doetsch
Henry Doetsch (d. 1894), a collector [more].

13.  Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

14.  Portrait Society
The Society of Portrait Painters; JW was on the committee.

15.  Mrs Sickert
Green and Violet: Portrait of Mrs Walter Sickert (YMSM 338), which had been at 34th Exhibition of Works of Modern Artists, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Glasgow, 1895.

16.  n'est ce pas
Fr., is it not?

17.  Mrs Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].