Documents associated with: Victoria and Albert Museum
Record 2 of 5
Notes from Alan S. Coles diaries.
"Whistler called in evening March 27th 1872 about his picture for exhibition "The White Girl".
"On 9th June 72 (Sunday) to Whistler's studio at Cheyne Walk. Sketches & Drawings. Frank Dicey there.
Jan 26th To Cheyne Walk with my father to see J's Gold Lady who was not finished. (This is the "Japanese Gold Girl" which was to have been enlarged for S. K. [ie South Kensington] Museum referred to by W. in letter written from 2. Lindsey Houses early in 1878.)
Feb. 9th to J's to see Symphony in Gold. (eccentric but effective) ? was this a Cremorne Symphony.
Feb. 16. To breakfast off blue & White. His portrait of Leyland then in hand saw it.
July 20 To see J. W. extraordinary pretty decoration very roughly done - blue yellow green - salmon colour gold leaf etc.
Dining (75) introduced him Mrs Greville & Mrs (Lady) Probyn.
Nov: 16th 1875. Dined with Jimmy. Tissot, A Moore, Cpt Crabb. Lovely blue & White china, capital small dinner - Lovely Japanese lacquer -
Jimmy called his white plume "Meche de Silas"
2nd Dec. 75. Tete a tete dinner at Garrick. W. on Critics & their ignorance of facts . . . . . "He held forth very much on beauty of falling snow & lights. trees covered with snow - (It was a cold snowy night).
Dec 7th 75. Dined with J. Lindsay [sic] Houses. Cyril Flower. [Tissot?]. Storey[.] Talked Balzac. Pere Goriot, Cousine Bette, Cousine Pour jeune homme de Province a Paris.
Note. Exhibition of International Art. London S. K. 1872. "The White Girl", & "La Princesse"
[p. 3] 1875. W. to supper. 19th Dec: very great on Prudhomme.
21 Dec: W. dined at Mrs Grevilles after [going] to Rip Van Winkle. Enthusiastic over Jefferson's acting. He considered Shakespears plays too literary & poetic for stage representation.
6. Jan. Dined with mother & father at Whistlers
Feb 21st "Rehearsal at Hall" (Smaller
hall at Albert Hall). "Whistler & Isabella "under the umbrella". (Mrs Fowke Cole's sister) Theatricals in aid of Mrs Bings creche of St Peters [Crawley?] Gardens.
Feb 28th Paragraph in Daily News on Whistlers & Isabella's performance.
March 10th Dined with Mrs Grenville. Guests - Whistler Canon Harford. Mr & Mrs [Wigen?], Admiral Englefield.
12. Dined with Jimmy Miss Franklin there[.] Grt conversation on Spiritualism in which J believes -
March 24th To Leylands House to see Whistlers colouring of Hall very delicate cocoa colour & gold. successful.
25th Dined at Whistler's. Mrs Leyland Mrs Galsworthy & others.
[p. 4] 1876. 1 May. To Whistler who had painted some living portraits most rapidly one of Irving as Philip. J.W. quite & madly enthusiastic about his power of painting such full lengths in two sittings or so.
2. May With J. W. to see progress in Leyland's house, colouring tender & good but his flowers on golden panels & leather are too unfinished very slight not satisfactory -
19 May. J. W. called for my father. I went round & in 2 hours W had made a strong commencement upon a nearly life size portrait of my father - Looking at it reflected in glass & how the figure stood within the frame.
27th To see W's portraits for Grosvenor.
11. Sept Whistler dined most entertaining brilliant descriptions of his successful decorations at Leylands. Confidential interviews creditor tradesmen. To see voyage dans la Lune Alhambra. droll.
16. Sept. Dined with W. Eldon there. spiritualism -
[p. 5] 1876. Sept. 20. To see Peacock Room -
20. Oct. To see W's room not finished yet.
26th To see P room developing. Met Poynter who spoke highly of it.
27th again to Room with Moody. -
29th " " " Mitford came.
Nov. 10th The blue over brown feather background is most admirable. W. quite mad with excitement.
20th Nov. Took Prince Teck to Peacock Room Left P. T. with Jimmy.
29th Nov. Golden Peacocks at end of room superb.
8th Dec: Article in Morning Post on Peacock Room.
9th W. in state over article - Leyland much perturbed.
15th W. now thinking of cutting off pendant lamps in Peacock Room.
29th Dined with J. the Dr[.] Goldfish in bowl. Japanese toy storks & birds.
- Chatted as to doing illustrated catalogue for Mitford & his Japanese woman or a decorated room for the Museum.
[p. 6] 1877.
11 Jan: With J. who showed a portrait of small fair haired boy. En route called in Thistle Grove upon the original of his White Girl now a buxom short woman of 46.
12th Rather full of an invitation he had had from Lady Airlie (Mitford's mother in law[)]
28th Jan: Round to see J. who had begun an etching of Irving.
Feb 9th To Princes Gate. Members of press.
Feb 18th Elated with praise of Peacock R.
March 6th Princes Gate. Whistler trying to finish peacocks on shutters
3 April. Met Jimmy at the Joplings. Much talk on spiritualism.
6. May. To Grosvenor. W's paintings
9th " Reception
6th June. Hard up bailiffs in his house
17th To breakfast at J's. Dicey. Potter & Huth. Studies of figures.
29. J. to dine in great form.
24th July. Leyland correspondence shown.
29th To. W's[.] His correspondence with L. Showed portraits of Mr & Mrs Leyland.
[p. 7] 1877. 20. Sept. W. full of building new house & establishing atelier for students.
Oct. 9th Printing etchings & dry points. Howell with him. anecdotes about Ruskin [&] Rossetti.
Jan. 13th With Jimmy to see new house on the embankment.
Jan. 20th W. painting scenes fr. little Dr Faust at Gaiety which may turn out well. also copy of his portrait of Leyland.
18th Feb. Chatted about his hardupness.
22 Feb. Dined with W, Staats Forbes, Boehm, Milford.
24. Feb: Met W. at Swan House, went to see his new White House.
6 Mar: J. sent to say he was coming to dine with me & wld. bring Miss Franklin. I sent him word to say it would not do.
April 9th sent Rugs to W-.
15 July W. turned up. I noted some of his remarks on Art for him.
[p. 8] 19 Sept. Called on J. Interview with Ld Beaconsfield as to painting a portrait of him. Been to Hughenden[.] Beaconsfield declined.
16th Oct Poor J. turned up depressed hard up & fearful of growing old -
Ruskin & Whistler trial 25 to 27 Nov. 1878.
Dec: 22nd W. came & read his version of trial[.] Pungent with much directness of purpose.
May. 9. Poor Jimmy's bankruptcy
May 25th To breakfast at White House. Mr Lewis had thrown his aegis over him & he was safe for present. he has painted some odd things over unfinished work. "Ye loves of ye lobsters", "An Arrangement in Rats", the ark reaching Mt Ararat.
Sept 7th J. Turned up in grt. spirits[,] everything to be sold up. He full of venom against Leyland whom he regards as "the author" of his disagreeability. Arranging his route to Venice.
[p. 9] Sept. 10th To J's to see painting of a demoniacal Leyland paying piano. Ye gold Scab with erruption of Filthy lucre.
Jan: 2nd J. called as self reliant & sure as ever full of confidence in superlative merit of pastels.
Jan: 28th Full of private view to-morrow. Wrote inviting Prince Teck.
Jan 29th 30 Private view of Venice Pastels
March 18th W. called. Incensed with Haden & Legros who had conspired to make out W. was breaking his contract with F. A. Society
March 27th W. called as to Haden & Duvenecks etchings. H's blunderings & insolence.
[p. 10] 1881. May. 26th Met J. who is taking a new studio in Tite Street where he is going to paint all the fashionables, views of crowds competing for sittings carriages along the street.
26. Aug. Flowers dinner Party - Magic spiritualism. His new yellow room[.] International Committee to preserve painting. Busy with painting 3 portraits of Mrs Meux.
11. Dec. To Ws. He very well - excellent water colours & fine portraits - he printing etchings[.] Oscar Wilde there.
Feb. 9. Account of Mrs Poynter's [confinement?] at Heseltines. "The sad P" in evening clothes for at least 8 days.
Feb. 26th To J's to see paintings of Mrs Meux one very fine. His commencement of my father good but slight full length evening clothes long dark overcoat thrown back red ribbon of the Bath.
Ap. 17. In spite of his illness my father to W's who fretted him by not painting. my father [p. 11] thought that J. had merely touched the light on his shoes & nothing else although he stood & sat for over 1½ hours. (my father died the next day).
May 2nd To W's. He painting his "Blue Girl". Eldon there as a kind of Claque calling out splendid on each of J's strokes on canvas. Eldon told me that he was in the studio when Jimmy was at work on my father's portrait on the 17th & that the last words my father had said to him were "Death waits for no man". After a long delay J. showed me his painting of my father which he can make into a very fine thing.
June. 7. W. in Paris.
June. 11. To J's. Cremorne Symphonies & water colours. New long skirted frock coat & long cane. Begun full length portrait of Eldon.
Sept. 24th W. lent proof of his Paddon & Howell Correspondence. Amusing but too personal.
Feb. 17. To see W's second series of Venice [p. 12] Etchings. Catalogue very absurd in its quotations of Critics.
8 July. Breakfast at W's. Ld Houghton Oscar Wilde, Mrs Singleton Mrs Moncrieff Mrs Gerald Potter Ldy A. Campbell the Storeys, Theodore Watts & others.
March 26th To W's in Tite Street. Painting (full length) portrait of girl with a round black hat & showed me few Cornish sketches. Wrote out agreement with Dowdeswells for him. Strong on Oscar Wilde taking his notions on Art.
30th April Grosvenor Private View. Portrait of Lady Archie's quite surprising graceful & charming.
17th May W's Private View at Dowdeswells Grey & Flesh Colour decorations many very delightful small paintings
19 Oct To tea, fine full length Sarasate the violinist for next years Academy Mrs Plowden there. Anxious to have an interview of himself in Pall Mall.
Oct. 24 W. dined. Views on Ruskin & Art.
[p. 13] 1884. Oct. 26. To J's new Water colours of Holland etc.
Oct. 27th J. to dine continuing notes as to himself & Art.
28th Writing out W's notes for him.
29th J. to dine. Writing notes as to his opinions on Art matters & discussing whether to offer them for publication to English illustrated magazine edited by Comyns Carr or to whom.
Nov. 19th W. invited to Ireland where he is sending some of his works & would lecture in Dublin.
7 Dec. J. to supper. He reads his lecture on Art which is capital full of vivid descriptiveness.
19. Dec. W. & his lecturing project[.] He called in later again. He is completing his lecture which he read to us, it is quite admirable from its poetry, simplicity, vivacity & interest
22 Dec. W. to dine. Had not been able to bring his lecture so gave us [p. 14] reminiscences of early life at West Point & his effrontery with the Professors.
Dec 31st J. to dine very full of how A Forbes (Correspondent) had been impressed with his lecture & would arrange with D'Oyly Carte as to when it should be delivered.
Jan 17. W. to dine. Lecture, arrangements with D'Oyly Carte. Miss Lenoir is the factotum & head of the business.
Feb. 8. W. in great spirits about lecture
14 Feb. J. & his lecture. Writing it until 10 o'clock.
Feb. 16. Sent a notice of W's lecture to him to see what I had taken of his M. S.
19. Feb. W. to dine. Article for Times[.] He took up a note to Times office for me.
Feb. 20. J's "Ten o'clock" He gave it excellently by heart after which I went to Times & saw Assistant Editor as to notice.
March. 27th W. to dine full of his lectures at British Artists & F. A. Society Cambridge
[p. 15] 1885. When Sydney Colvin wanted to make an introductory speech which he Jimmy wouldn't allow. Story of American Commodore who watched corpses before burial to obtain whiskey.
April 17th W. came talked of British Artists & getting people to P. [Private] Views.
Ap. 18th To B. A. Private View Sarasate most distinguished[,] some followers of W's exhibiting (Maude Franklin's little flower paintings) -
Oct 13th J. to dine. His lecture has been printed he would like it to be couronné par l'Academie. Anxious to twit Horsely about the nude & his absurd onslaught on it.
21st Oct. W. depressed having hurt his hand.
Nov. 26th W. called went with him to studio[.] Doing new work by painting at night for night effects. Striking drawings of very graceful figures. Came back to dine, talked of going to America, depressed.
[p. 16] 1886.
Jan: 1st W. to dine. His contretemps with B. Artists & how the Council had removed his label of Horsley soit qui mal y pense from one of his little figure studies.
March. 24th. J. to lunch. Letter to Arry & Slade Profesorship in the World, Correspondence with Burnand who had made suggestions for making his lecture go better with the public. J's jaunty reply to Punch addressing him as "roi des Charivaris"
Dec. 5th J. on reforms at B. Artists, his critics, letters in the World. Truth[.] Tour in America.
Aug 25. At Boulogne met J. & his wife on the sands - they came with us to Rue de la Paix. Dawn to bathe. J. sketching on sands. M. with Mrs W.
26. Dejeuner at Bourgogne with Whistlers
27. W's turned up after lunch: With J to iron & rag Marché Boulevard Prince Albert. Sketched in water colour a dingy shop. Dined later at Casino. J in excellent spirits, leaving tomorrow
[p. 17] 1889.
Jan. J & Stott of Oldham Hogarth Club row.
Ap. 14th Called on Ws. He depressed as to his controversy with B. Artists & Wyke Bayliss.
1 May Whistler dinner at Criterion & his speech. see papers.
May 28th Dined at Ws. Raffalovitch Roussel & Fagan.
Jan W. showed new etchings of Amsterdam. - Mrs Sickert there.
March 8th To see J. as to selecting some etchings for S. K. Library -
March 9th To Ws. Etchings. Moving to Cheyne Walk.
April. Sheridan Ford's illegal edition of W's writings
June. Gentle Art published towards end of month.
July 6. To Ws. They have a pleasant strip of garden at back. J. re his book & attitudes of butterflies each of them significant
8 Sept. W's fracas at Drury Lane with [p. 18] editor of Hawk.
Sept 24th Dined with Ws. House unfurnished. He painting excellent ½ & ¾ length portaits. Very strong & fine. Chattering over his fracas. Literary venture "The Whirlwind" which sounds rot & only interferes with his painting.
Oct 1st W. called about Mansion House Congress on copyright.
Sept. 20. Liverpool experiences hanging pictures.
Sept 24th To Js to tea. Pastels also little figures in charcoal on brown paper. His Venetian etchings splendid.
Oct 12th J. to dine. Schemes for producing lithographs of his pastels
Nov. 14th Mothers portrait of his mother [sic] "unprecedently" [sic] chosen by Minister of Beaux Arts for Luxembourg,
Decr 17th Dined with Ws. Dining room in blue & white very pretty.
[p. 19] 1894
Paris & his kindnesses & much more to G.
Later on his wish to give S. K. some garnets & silver which had belonged to his wife. Discussed how this could be done under quite new administration in the Museum. Suggested writing to Duke of Devonshire as Ld President.
With diary notes were 19 letters. In one dated Dec: 1874. from Lindsay Houses W. refers to a severe illness of two months duration.
Copied in pencil by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], who added some notes, which are not always easy to distinguish from Cole's record. Some excerpts from the same diary were published by Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, see #12986; another copy of extracts from Cole's diary is in the Pennell-Whistler Collection at the Library of Congress, #13132.
8. (This is ... in 1878.)
'(This is ... in 1878.)' was added by R. B. Philip.
9. ? was this a Cremorne Symphony.
''?was ... Symphony' was added by R. B. Philip.
11. Pall Mall
Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, Pall Mall, London, 1874.
13. Mrs Greville
Mrs Greville, a society hostess.
14. Mrs (Lady) Probyn
Letitia, Lady Dighton Probyn (m. 1872), née Thellusson.
17. Cpt Crabb
Captain Crabb, commander of The Brazilian in 1870.
18. Meche de Silas
JW had a white lock of hair.
28. Daily News
Daily News, London.
1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877.
Moody, friend of A. S. Cole.
44. Morning Post
Morning Post, 8 December 1876.
46. room for the Museum
This project did not materialise.
1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877; JW's exhibits were Nocturne in Blue and Silver (YMSM 113), Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137), Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140), 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), Arrangement in Brown (YMSM 182) and Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain (YMSM 187).
53. Dicey. Potter & Huth
Frank Dicey (ca 1838 - d.1888), painter [more]; probably John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more]; and Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more].
58. little Dr Faust
JW frequently went see Nellie Farren and Ellen Terry in John Hollingshead's farce, The Grasshopper and Henry James Byron's burlesque, Little Dr Faust and drew and painted subjects related to these performances, including Souvenir of the Gaiety (Souvenir of the Gaiety (M.664); see also M.665-668,Harmony in Blue: The Duet (YMSM 196)).
59. copy of his portrait of Leyland
No copy of Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 97) is known althought there are two small studies for it, Study in Grey for the Portrait of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 95) and Portrait Sketch of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 96).
60. Staats Forbes, Boehm, Milford
James Staats Forbes (1823-1904), railway manager and collector [more]; Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more]; and Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (1837-1916), Lord Redesdale (1886), diplomat, Secretary of the Office of Works, and collector [more].
62. Ruskin & Whistler
Reviewing 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877, John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more], libelled JW's paintings, in particular, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170); see Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213. JW sued him for libel and the case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878; 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.
63. version of trial
Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878.
72. Private view of Venice Pastels
Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881.
73. Haden and Legros
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], and Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]; Haden had mistaken etchings by Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], exhibited at the Society of Painter Etchers, as being by JW, who was committed to sell Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5), only through the Fine Art Society.
84. Paddon & Howell Correspondence
Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, .
85. second series of Venice Etchings
A Set of twenty-six etchings of Venice, 1886 (the second 'Venice set') (K.196-216, 233-237). (excat 6), on view at Mr Whistler's Etchings, The Fine Art Society, London, 1883.
86. Ld Houghton
Various guests include: Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885), Baron Houghton of Great Houghton, biographer of John Keats [more], Mrs Singleton, unidentified, 'Antoinette ('Nita') Gaëtano Moncrieff (b. ca 1849), née Mackie, poetess and singer [more], Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more], Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more] and Ada Maud Story (1856-1932), née Broadwood [more], and Walter Theodore Watts (later Watts-Dunton) (1832-1914), solicitor, novelist and poet [more].
88. Cornish sketches
JW spent January 1884 at St Ives in Cornwall working with M. L. Menpes and W. R. Sickert. Numerous small scale works in oil, such as The Angry Sea (YMSM 282), and watercolour, such as Sunrise; gold and grey (M.917), reveal this as an important period in his artistic development (see YMSM 263-288; M.915-921). Many of them were exhibited in 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.
The agreement with Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell for the forthcoming exhibition.
91. Dowdeswells Grey & Flesh colour
'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.
93. Mrs Plowden
Mrs Plowden, a social acquaintance of JW.
94. Pall Mall
Pall Mall Gazette, not located.
Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures, and Photography, Dublin Sketching Club, Leinster Hall, Dublin, 1884. JW did not go over or lecture there.
101. Ten o'clock
JW's 'Ten O'Clock' Lecture was delivered in Princes Hall, London, on 20 February 1885.
103. lectures at British Artists
JW's 'Ten O'Clock' Lecture was delivered on several occasions later in the year.
105. B. A. Private View
62nd Annual Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885.
106. flower paintings
Maud Franklin exhibited under the name 'Clifton Lin' during JW's presidency of the Society (later the Royal) of British Artists.
107. couronné par l'Academie
Fr., crowned by the Academy. The reference is to Whistler, James McNeill, Mr. Whistler's 'Ten O'Clock.', London, 1885.
109. Horsley soit qui mal y pense
JW attached a label with these words to a small pastel of a nude, Note in Violet and Green (M.1074) or Harmony in Opal and Violet (M.1075), at Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886. The words were a pun on the royal motto, 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' (Fr., Evil be to him who evil thinks). Horsley had attacked the painting of nudes as immoral, pointing out the dangers to the model of such a profession. The RBA asked JW to take off the label but not before the press had got hold of the story.
112. roi des Charivaris
Fr., King of jesters, Lord of misrule.
114. Stott of Oldham
William Stott of Oldham (1857-1900), genre and landscape painter [more]. On 3 January 1889 Stott quarrelled publically with JW in the Hogarth Club. There was a private reason for the public quarrel: Stott disapproved of JW for abandoning his mistress Maud Franklin in order to marry Beatrix Godwin. The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 19 January 1889, reported that the quarrel was over "the model who sat for that rueful Venus rising from the sea". (GUL PC 11) See JW's letter to the Hogarth Club (#13461),Whistler, James McNeill, [The Whistler-Stott Quarrel. Letter to the Hogarth Club], Indépendance Belge, 10 January 1889.
116. dinner at Criterion
A dinner in honour of JW was held at the Criterion on 1 May 1889 to celebrate the award of a first-class medal at Munich and the Cross of St Michael of Bavaria. It was organised by William Christian Symons (1845-1911), painter and designer [more].
122. Sheridan Ford's
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.
123. Gentle Art
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.
The Winged Hat (C.34) was the first of three lithographs to be published in The Whirlwind: A Lively and Eccentric Newspaper, 25 October 1890, under the title "Mr Whistler's 'Songs on Stone'." It was followed by The Tyresmith (C.36) and Maunder's Fish Shop, Chelsea (C.37) in November and December.
127. hanging pictures
JW was on the hanging committee for 21st Autumn Exhibition of Pictures, Corporation of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1891.
129. Duke of Devonshire
The garnets were much prized by the Whistlers, and worn by Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. This note must date from after her death in 1896. The jewels were among the contents of JW's estate, but did not go to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). They were eventually given to the University of Glasgow by R. B. Philip.
130. With diary ... duration.
'With diary ... duration' added by R. B. Philip.