The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Search for People > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: Henley, William Ernest
Record 5 of 50

System Number: 10582
Date: [17 April 1891][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: William Ernest Henley[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Private Collection
Document Type: ALS[3]


My dear Henley -

I am sending you the most lovely things - a couple of little masterpieces[4] - tout simplement[5]! - New - original in every sense of the word - dainty as few things are - and as to execution - brilliant beyond all you could ever have expected - perfect little bijous!

I am enchanted -

If you have this sort of thing in [p. 2] your book, Bewick[6] may be relegated to Ruskins[7] "middle class[8] villa with the little parlour opening on the nicely mown lawn" - !

The proofs come in a seperate [sic] envelope registered that they may run no risk -

And now what do you think your Financier at the back will pay for such plates - and how many would be wanted - You must point out apart from the exquisite beauty of composition and execution, that as etchings they are of that marvelous simplicity, that allows of their being printed with the utmost ease -

Write me a line telling me that you are pleased -


[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [17 April 1891]
Henley replied on 18 April 1891, #04248.

2.  William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), journalist, poet and writer [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Newton, Joy, 'Whistler and Henley: A Postscript', Victorian Poetry, vol. 36, no. 1, Spring 1998, pp. 113-16.

4.  masterpieces
It is not clear to what etchings JW is referring, but they could possibly be those of fish by Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]: B. Whistler, Goldfish (z226). These are referred to elsewhere as 'Henley's fish', JW to B. Whistler, [13 August 1891], #06595.

5.  tout simplement
Fr., 'quite simply'.

6.  Bewick
Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), wood engraver and illustrator [more], much admired by Ruskin.

7.  Ruskins
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

8.  middle class
John Ruskin, Notes on S. Prout and W. Hunt, quoted by JW in marginal note, Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, p. 13.