UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Henry Du Pré Labouchère, 1831-1912

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1831.11.09
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1912.01.15
Place of Death: Villa Christina Montughi, near Florence, Italy

Identity:

Henry Du Pré Labouchère, journalist and Liberal MP, married Henrietta Hodson (1841-1910) an actress.

Life:

Labouchère was correspondent for the Daily News in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and in 1877 he founded Truth, a magazine devoted to the exposure of social fraud, serving as its editor.

He was Liberal MP in turn for Windsor, Middlesex and Northampton and sat in the House of Commons from 1880-1906. He supported the Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone and was known as a Radical, supporting anti-imperialist legislation. He is most famous for his 1885 introduction of an amendment to Section II of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which criminalized homosexual acts between men, punishable by up to two years hard labour, the law which, ten years later, would convict Oscar Wilde. He was elected Liberal MP for Northampton in 1884, having been an unsuccessful candidate for Middlesex in the 1868 election. He was elected again in 1903.

He apparently owned Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Gold Girl - Connie Gilchrist (YMSM 190), in the 1880s, as J.-E. Blanche saw the painting in Whistler's Tite Street studio in 1884. According to Robert Ross (as reported by Pennell in 1921), Labouchère let JW have the painting back 'to work on it' but, according to Pennell, JW 'had not touched the canvas' but wanted to destroy it. According to Ward, Labouchère said that after Whistler had had the painting for ten years, 'he is still not sufficiently satisfied with it to return my picture, and I don't expect ever to see it again'. It was in Whistler's studio at the time of his death, in 1903, and returned by Miss R. Birnie Philip to Labouchère; it then fell into the hands of Robert Ross.

Bibliography:

Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004; Pennell, Joseph, and Elizabeth Robins Pennell, The Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection of Whistleriana Shown in Division of Prints, Library of Congress, Southwest Pavilion, Washington, G.P.O. Library Branch, 1921 Thorold, A. L., Life of Henry Labouchere, London, 1913.