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The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Ionides, Alexander Constantine
Record 12 of 22

System Number: 08039
Date: [May 1864][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Henri Fantin-Latour[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/33/19
Document Type: ALS[3]


7. Lindsey Row. Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea. London.

Mardi.

Je voudrai bien pouvoir encore te causer! il y a choses en train qui feraient bien dans une têtê à têtê chez Peters[4]!

Alphonse[5] est arrivé hier au soir - faisant sa rentrée comme le tenor à l'opera - sombrero sur la tête et manteau sur l'épaule - il ne manquait que le choeur du vilage - Il a l'air de se porter bien, et arrive à temps pour la nouvelle de son tableau[6] bien placé au salon - de sorte que tout est tres gai - Tu as bien compris l'importance du silence et je t'en remercie - J'ai encore vu Boxall[7] dimanche, nous encore [sic] causé - l'intimité commence a redevenir naturelle et certainement c'est charmant! Il m'a dit qu'il voudrait bien que tu sache combien il aime tes bouquets[8] - Aussi il parait qu'a force de les entendre admirer, il y a eu un autre membre de l'administration qui aurait voulu les acheter, seulement il trouvait que 25 guinées piece (625. fr) étaient un peu [p. 2] trop cher! Vraiment nos amis trop enthousiastes sont presque aussi redoutables que nos ennemies! et si les Ionides[9] n'avaient pas tant exalté le prix, tes fleurs rentraient chez un Academicien - Enfin cela pourait peutêtre encore s'arranger: nous verrons - Tu es déja dans les journaux de Paris à ce que me dit Alphonse tu m'en parleras dans ta prochaine - Et Stevens[10] qui vient! C'est bien - on est pret! - Maintenant mon cher Fantin pour ton billet de samedi - je crois que tu peux y compter - voici comment - les fruits que Charles Cole[11] doit te vendre - faut pas y compter encore - mais dans ma dernière conversation avec Dilberoglou[12], où il parlait du Tannhauser[13], il m'a chargè de te prier d'avoir toujours recours à lui lorsqu'un billet de banque de 10. livres pourrait t'être utile - Comme je le connais intimement je crois bien faire en lui faisant part de ceci, de sorte qu'il t'envera des avances sur les travaux que tu dois executer pour lui -

Tu vois par le petit mot ci inclu qu'il y a ici une petite commission qui j'espere ne te generait pas trop - C'est [p. 3] simplement d'entrer, demain en revenant du Louvre, à la Porte Chinoise[14], et demander à voir une certaine soupière en vielle laque dont ils m'ont écrit - Tu m'en donneras une idée dans ta réponse, et si l'affaire est vraiment superbe, et d'une splendide qualité ils me la garderont - Regardes bien; il faut que ça soit doux et fini de qualité comme la boite avec les cygognes, enfin une vraie vielle laque, car tu veras que laques plus modernes comme les grands plateaux (demandes à les voir) ne sont pas aussi bien dessinées et manquent les splendides qualitiés des anciennes -

A bientôt

Whistler

Je connais déja la rencontre de vous deux avec Heloise[15] et son anecdote! de quoi veut elle se venger!


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Tuesday.

I should so much like to be able to talk to you again! there are things going on which it would be good to have a tête à tete about at Peters'.

Alphonse arrived yesterday evening - making his entry like a tenor at the opera - sombrero on head and coat slung over his shoulder - the only thing missing was the chorus of villagers - He is looking well, and has arrived here in time for the news that his picture is well placed at the Academy - so that everything is very cheerful - You have certainly grasped the importance of silence for which I thank you - I saw Boxall again on Sunday, we had another chat - intimacy has started to become natural again and it is indeed delightful! He has told me that he wished so much that you should know how much he likes your bouquets - What is more, it appears that as a result of having heard them being admired, there was another member of the administration who would have bought them, only he found that 25 guineas each (625. fr) was a bit [p. 2] too dear! Truly our too-enthusiastic friends are almost as fearsome as our enemies! and if the Ionides had not raised the price so much, your flowers would have gone to an Academician's house - But perhaps that could yet be arranged: we shall see - You are already in the Paris papers from what Alphonse told me you will tell me about it in your next - And Stevens is coming! That is good - we are ready! - Now my dear Fantin for your note of Saturday - I believe - for the following reason - that you can count on the fruits that Charles Cole might sell for you - you must not count on it yet - but in my last conversation with Dilberoglou, in which he spoke of the Tannhauser, he asked me to beg you always to turn to him when a ten-Pound note would be useful - As I know him very well I really think I am doing the right thing in letting him know about this, so that he will give you advances on the works you are to do for him -

You see by the little note enclosed with this that there is a small task that I hope will not be too much of a nuisance for you - It is [p. 3] simply to call in at the Porte Chinoise when you come back from the Louvre tomorrow, and ask to see a certain old lacquered tureen that they have written to me about - In your reply give me an impression of it, and if it is truly superb and of splendid quality, they will keep it for me - Have a good look at it; it must be mellow and with a high-quality finish like the box with the cygnets, in short a real old lacquer, because you will see that more modern lacquers like the large dishes (ask to see them) are not as well drawn and lack the splendid qualities of the earlier ones -

I'll write again soon

Whistler

I already know about the meeting between you two and Heloise and her anecdote! She wants her revenge!


Notes:

1.  [May 1864]
The year '1864' has been added, possibly by JW or in another hand, and confirms references in the letter.

2.  Henri Fantin-Latour
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more].

3.  ALS
'16' is written in another hand at the top of p. 1.

4.  Peters
Peters, a mutual friend of JW and H. Fantin-Latour.

5.  Alphonse
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]

6.  tableau
A. Legros, L'Ex Voto (z9) (Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts) exhibited at 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864, cat. no. 230; see also Wilcox, Timothy John, Alphonse Legros (1837-1911): Aspects of his Life and Work, [n.p.], 1981, cat. no. 16).

7.  Boxall
William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more].

8.  bouquets
Two paintings entitled Fleurs, were bought by C. A. Ionides and are now in the Ionides Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum (H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.244) (z104) and H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.245) (z105)). They are probably the same two paintings exhibited at the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864, cat. nos. 212 and 259 'Flowers'.

9.  Ionides
Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more], and his family.

10.  Stevens
Possibly Alfred Émile-Léopold Stevens (1823-1906), history and portrait painter [more].

11.  Charles Cole
Charles Augustus Cole (1819-1887), book editor and writer [more].

12.  Dilberoglou
Staurus or Stavros Dilberoglue (1811-1878), merchant, of Cavafy and Co. [more].

13.  Tannhauser
Fantin-Latour exhibited H. Fantin-Latour, Tannhauser: Venusberg (FL.233) (z109) (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) at the 82nd exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1864, cat. no. 678 (as 'Scène du Tannhauser') and bought shortly afterwards by Ionides, for 2000 frs. (See Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog, Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1982, pp. 148-60, cat. no. 50).

14.  Porte Chinoise
The shop selling oriental goods, opened by M. and Mme de Soye in the Rue de Rivoli, and frequented by, among others, JW, the Rossettis, and Jacques ('James') Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), painter and etcher [more].

15.  Heloise
Eloise or Héloise ('Fumette'), a milliner or 'grisette' , JW's model and mistress [more].