The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: World, The (London)
Record 15 of 168

System Number: 08123
Date: [3 December 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Edward Linley Sambourne[2]
Place: [Isle of Thanet, Kent]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/51/1
Document Type: ALS[3]

My dear Sambourne -

I know I shall be only charmed as I always am by your work - and if I am myself its subject, I shall only be flattered in addition. -

Punch in person sat upon me in the box - why should not the most subtle of his staff have a shot? - Moreover whatever delicacy and refinement Tom Taylor[4] may have still left in his pocket (from which he [p. 2] drew his ammunition) I doubt not he will urge you to use, that it may not be wasted -

Meanwhile you must not grieve over what you call this 'trying time' - To have brought about an "Arrangement in Frith[,] Punch[5] & Ruskin with a touch of & Titian[6]" has been joy - and sufficient in itself to satisfy even my own craving for curious combinations! -

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

The White House. Chelsea -

Thursday night -

[p. 3] 'To Linley Sambourne[7]'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3 December 1878]
This is a reply to a letter from E. L. Sambourne to JW, expressing the hope that a forthcoming caricature would not offend him, dated 1 December 1878 (#05367); the following Thursday was 3 December.

2.  Edward Linley Sambourne
Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910), Punch caricaturist [more].

3.  ALS
Published in The World, 11 December 1878. Later published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 20, under the heading Professor Ruskin's Group. See also JW to E. L. Sambourne, two drafts of this letter (#05368 and #05369); a copied version of this letter may be found in Glasgow University Library, Whistler S14.

4.  Tom Taylor
Thomas ('Tom') Taylor (1817-1880), civil servant, dramatist, art critic, and editor of Punch from 1874-1880 [more]. The case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878. Taylor appeared as a not-very-hostile witness for John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. See Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, pp. 141-45 for JW's testimony; and, on Ruskin's side, pp. 171-76 for Burne-Jones; pp. 176-78 for W. P. Frith; and pp. 178-80 for Taylor.

5.  Arrangement in Frith[,] Punch [& Ruskin]
William Powell Frith (1819-1909), genre and landscape painter [more], appeared as a witness on Ruskin's behalf. Sambourne's caricature satirising the Whistler v Ruskin trial was about to be published; see Anon., 'An Appeal to the Law,' Punch, vol. 75, 7 December 1878, p. 254, p. 254.

6.  Titian
Tiziano ('Titian') Vecello or Vecellio (1485-1576), painter and engraver [more]. This relates to Ruskin's defence strategy. During the proceedings, Vincenzo Catena, Portrait of the Doge Andrea Gritti (z64), then owned by Ruskin and attributed to Titian, was brought into the courtroom in evidence.

7.  To Linley Sambourne
Added in another hand.