UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Parry, John Humffrey
Record 1 of 16

System Number: 11948
Date: 21 November 1877
Author: James Anderson Rose[1]
Place: London
Recipient: [unknown]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: PD/Ms[2]


1877. - W. - No. 818.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION.

FOS. 6.
WRIT ISSUED THE 28TH DAY OF JULY 1877.

BETWEEN JAMES ABBOTT McNEILL WHISTLER - PLAINTIFF
         AND  
JOHN RUSKIN[3] - - - - - - DEFENDANT.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

DELIVERED ON THE 21ST DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1877, BY MR. JAMES ANDERSON ROSE, OF No. 11 SALISBURY STREET, STRAND, IN THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX, PLAINTIFF'S SOLICITOR.

1. THE PLAINTIFF IS AN ARTIST AND SELLS PICTURES PAINTED BY HIM.

2. SHORTLY BEFORE THE PUBLICATION BY THE DEFENDANT OF THE LIBEL HEREINAFTER MENTIONED THE PLAINTIFF HAD EXHIBITED IN A GALLERY CALLED THE GROSVENOR GALLERY[4] OPENED TO THE PUBLIC BY SIR COUTTS LINDSAY ON PAYMENT OF AN ENTRANCE FEE CERTAIN PICTURES PAINTED BY THE PLAINTIFF.

3.  ON OR ABOUT THE 2nd DAY OF JULY 1877 THE DEFENDANT PRINTED AND PUBLISHED IN A PAMPHLET CALLED "FORS CLAVIGERA[5]" THE WORDS FOLLOWING THAT IS TO SAY -

"LASTLY, THE MANNERISMS AND ERRORS OF THESE PICTURES," (MEANING SOME PICTURES BY MR. BURNE-JONES[6]) "WHATEVER MAY BE THEIR EXTENT, ARE NEVER AFFECTED OR INDOLENT. THE WORK IS NATURAL TO THE PAINTER, HOWEVER STRANGE TO US; AND IT IS WROUGHT WITH UTMOST CONSCIENCE OF CARE, HOWEVER FAR, TO HIS OWN OR OUR DESIRE, THE RESULT MAY YET BE INCOMPLETE. SCARCELY SO MUCH CAN BE SAID FOR ANY OTHER PICTURES OF THE MODERN SCHOOLS: THEIR ECCENTRICITIES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS IN SOME DEGREE FORCED; AND THEIR IMPERFECTIONS GRATUITOUSLY, IF NOT IMPERTINENTLY, INDULGED. FOR MR. WHISTLER'S OWN SAKE, NO LESS THAN FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE PURCHASER, SIR COUTTS LINDSAY OUGHT (p. 2) NOT TO HAVE ADMITTED WORKS INTO THE GALLERY IN WHICH THE ILL-EDUCATED CONCEIT OF THE ARTIST SO NEARLY APPROACHED THE ASPECT OF WILFUL IMPOSTURE. I HAVE SEEN, AND HEARD, MUCH OF COCKNEY IMPUDENCE BEFORE NOW; BUT NEVER EXPECTED TO HEAR A COXCOMB ASK TWO HUNDRED GUINEAS[7] FOR FLINGING A POT OF PAINT IN THE PUBLIC'S FACE."

4.  THE EXPRESSION MR. WHISTLER REFERS TO THE PLAINTIFF.

5.  THE SAID LIBEL WAS FALSELY AND MALICIOUSLY PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE DEFENDANT OF THE PLAINTIFF. THE PLAINTIFF'S REPUTATION AS AN ARTIST HAS BEEN MUCH DAMAGED BY THE SAID LIBEL.

THE PLAINTIFF CLAIMS -
1.   £1,000.
2.   THE COST OF THIS ACTION.

THE PLAINTIFF PROPOSES THAT THIS ACTION BE TRIED IN THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX.

[p. 3] 1877. - W. - No. 818.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION.

DELIVERED THE 21ST DAY OF NOVEMBER 1877.

WHISTLER
      v.
RUSKIN.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM.

PLEADINGS

Mr Petheram[8]

With you
Mr Sergeant Parry[9]

J. ANDERSON ROSE,
11 SALISBURY STREET,
STRAND, MIDDLESEX,
PLAINTIFF'S SOLICITOR.

[p. 4] 1877. W. No. 818
the High Court of Justice
Queen's Bench Division

Between James Abbott McNeill Whistler . . . Plaintiff
- and -
John Ruskin . - Defendant

Statement of Defence delivered the 6th day of December 1877 by Messrs Walker Martineau & Co of No. 13 Kings Road Grays Inn in the County of Middlesex Defendant's Solicitors.

1.  The Defendant admits the allegation contained in paragraph 3 of the Statement of Claim subject to the production at the trial by the Plaintiff of a copy of the said pamphlet for reference.

2.  The alleged libel is privileged as being a fair and bonâ fide criticism upon a painting which the plaintiff had exposed for public view.

3.  Save as aforesaid the Defendant denies the allegations in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Statement of Claim.

[p. 5] 1877 W. No. 818
In the High Court of Justice
Queen's Bench Division

Between James Abbott McNeill Whistler        Plaintiff
- and -
John Ruskin      Defendant

Delivered the 11th day of December 1877.

Reply

1.  The Plaintiff joins issue upon the Statement of Defence

J Anderson Rose
11 Salisbury Street Strand
Middlesex
Plaintiffs Solicitor


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

1.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

2.  PD/Ms
Identical printed copies of two of these pages, pp. 1 and 2, are enclosed in this document and have not been transcribed here.

3.  JOHN RUSKIN
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.

4.  Grosvenor Gallery...Lindsay
Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913), Bart., co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery [more]. JW exhibited seven oils at the 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877 (cat. nos. 5, 6A, 6, 4, 8, 9 and one ex. cat). These were Nocturne in Blue and Silver (YMSM 113), Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140) as 'Nocturne in Blue and Silver', 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) as 'Harmony in Amber and Black', Arrangement in Brown (YMSM 182) and Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain (YMSM 187). Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137), was exhibited in the entrance gallery (ex. cat.)

5.  FORS CLAVIGERA
Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213.

6.  MR. BURNE-JONES
Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898), painter and designer [more].

7.  TWO HUNDRED GUINEAS
This was the price for Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170).

8.  Mr Petheram
William Comer Petheram (1835-1922), barrister [more].

9.  Mr Sergeant Parry
John Humffrey Parry (1816-1880), Sergeant-at-law [more].