The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Fine Arts Quarterly Review
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 05248
Date: 27 January [1879][1]
Author: William Michael Rossetti[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R144
Document Type: ALS

Somerset House.

27 Jany.

Dear Whistler,

I received your piquant little pamphlet[3], & read it immediately, & found in it not only plenty of point but plenty of reason. Tho' I have been figuring for so many years as a non-professional art-critic, I nevertheless agree to a very considerable [p. 2] extent in your thesis that the publishing of art-critiques by non-professionals, whom the too easy-going public allow thus to assume a dominant authority over their own minds, is noxious & deserving of protest: indeed I have myself said the same in an article wh. I wrote (say towards 1864) in the Fine Arts Quarterly, & wh. is reprinted in my vol. Fine Art[4] Chiefly Contemporary.

I had intended to ac-[p. 3]knowledge your pamphlet with thanks as soon as I received & read it, but it slipped me to do this (partly because I was laid up with gout several days about that time). I am now reminded to write thro' seeing in the Academy[5] an abusive little paragraph about the pamphlet, & apprehending that said paragraph might possibly, by you or others, be ascribed to my hand. The fact however is that I not only had nothing whatever to do with the paragraph, but that I have [p. 4] not for the last half-year or more written anything for the Academy - the Editor[6] having substituted Comyns Carr[7] for myself as reviewer of exhibitions.

Yours always truly,

W. M. Rossetti -

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1.  27 January [1879]
Year deduced from reference to pamphlet (see below).

2.  William Michael Rossetti
William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more].

3.  pamphlet
Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878 was published in January 1879.

4.  Fine Art
Rossetti, William Michael, Fine Art, Chiefly Contemporary: Notices Reprinted, with Revisions, London and Cambridge, 1867.

5.  Academy
Anon., 'Whistler v Ruskin: Art and Art Critics,' The Academy, 25 January 1879, p. 85.

6.  Editor
Charles Edward Cutts Birch Appleton (1841-1879), proprietor and editor of The Academy [more].

7.  Comyns Carr
Joseph Williams Comyns Carr (1849-1916), art critic and theatre manager [more].