The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Royal Scottish Academy
Record 16 of 22

System Number: 01878
Date: 22 June 1902
Author: James Guthrie[1]
Place: Row
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G243
Document Type: ALS

June 22nd / 1902



Dear Mr Whistler,

When I reached home - the day after my very pleasant visit to Chelsea - I found a summons to an Academy Council Meeting in Edinburgh the following day.

One item of the Agenda was "No reply from Mr Whistler[3] to communication [p. 2] informing him of his Election to Hon: Membership" - or something of the kind.

Unfortunately it was not possible for me to be in Edin. on the day named - so I wrote the President & Council conveying to them the very kind words you used to me in London -

The enclosed note from the Secretary - Mr Hay[4] - refers to the matter [p. 3] & I think it best to send it to you.

Now don't, please, think me over-busy - formality tho' often excellent isn't always convenient!

Yet I know how much a reply wd. be appreciated by all - while it would enable Mr. Hay [p. 4] & to send the diploma -

I hope you fare better in the matter of peace to work in - a vital matter to the greatest & to the least of us.

With the best of good wishes
Yours Sincerely

James Guthrie

P. S. I write in some haste as I leave[5] to-morrow for a few days in the North - not far from Colonsay[6] by the way!

[monogram:] JG -

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1.  James Guthrie
James Guthrie (1859-1930), landscape and portrait painter [more].

2.  ROW
Now Rhu, Dunbartonshire.

3.  No reply from Mr Whistler
In March 1902, JW was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy (J. Guthrie to JW, 19 March 1902, #01875). The official letter from George Hay, Secretary of the RSA, was written on 20 March (#05259). On 17 June, he told Guthrie he had not heard from JW (#05260). In fact JW was recovering from serious illness, contracted during a trip to Holland. JW drafted a reply ( #01876) but on 12 July, R. B. Philip wrote to Guthrie: 'Mr Whistler is most distressed at this continued delay in answering officially the letter of The Royal Scottish Academy' (#04839).

4.  Mr Hay
George Hay (1831-1913), genre painter, Secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy [more].

5.  I leave...JG -
Written in the left margin of p. 4 at right angles to the main text.

6.  Colonsay
Small island in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The McNeills originally came from the Hebrides and JW claimed he was a McNeill of Barra (which was not strictly true).