UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Forbes, Charles Stuart
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System Number: 04617
Date: 26 October 1900
Author: Harper Pennington[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P257
Document Type: ALS


234 5th Avenue. New York.

Oct. 26th 1900.

Dear Jimmy,

I'm always making vows never to write to you any more - & always breaking them, as you see.

Harpers Magazine for October contains the enclosed article which I send you in the hope that it may afford you at least a tenth part of the amusement I got out of it.

Don't you see the "Kangaroo[2]" producing things out of a pouch, telling little stories of his prouesses[3], etc. etc. - winding up with a deprecatory wag of the wig, (for I cannot be mistaken in supposing that the person posed as "an artist sketching", on page 1, wears factitious hair,) and a sigh over the wrong-headedness of Mr Whistler?

Isn't it all delightful? Fancy our Australian friend with cunningly hidden cameras, their nozzles peeping out of "carved wood-work[4]", snapping photo-[p. 2]graphs of his unsuspecting sitters, while he ostensibly makes "innumerable small studies of expression" - "pencil notes" drawings, color notes, & so on"!

I am always prepared to hear that Menpes has been arrested for burglary, or any thing else.

The place I marked with a * is also characteristic. Je vois ça d'ici![5] Mortimer and "a thousand beautiful women"! Mortimer and "two or three thousand beautiful women" - alone with them, too! Why, Solomon[6] is no where.

Your friend, Kennedy[7], has some charming sea-pieces of your making. Where on earth did he get them? [p. 3] They are a perfect Godsend, here, where the shops swarm with horrors, & the exhibitions with imitations of cheap French trash.

I see much of John La Farge[8]. He is a great comfort to me. Charley Forbes[9] & I have a small apartment on the corner of 5th Avenue & 27th St. Absolutely every thing & every body in New York passes under our windows. It is gay & noisy - & horrible!

Yours as ever

Harper Pennington


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Notes:

1.  Harper Pennington
Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington (1854-1920), artist [more].

2.  Kangaroo
Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more].

3.  prouesses
He may mean processes or prowesses.

4.  carved wood-work
Menpes' house was decorated with wood panels carved by Japanese craftsmen. He is said to have used photographs as well as drawings when preparing his portraits and illustrations.

5.  Je vois ça d'ici!
Fr., I can just see it!

6.  Solomon
Solomon (b. 1033 BC), third king of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba. Solomon was famed for his many wives; 1 Kings 11.3, 'He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.'

7.  Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

8.  John La Farge
John LaFarge or La Farge (1835-1910), painter and multi-media artist [more].

9.  Charley Forbes
Charles Stuart Forbes (1856-1926), landscape and marine painter [more].