UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

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

return to search results

Documents associated with: Llewellyn, William S. H.
Record 2 of 6

System Number: 08137
Date: [7 June 1888[1]]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Alfred Stevens[2]
Place: [Paris?]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/59/3
Document Type: ALS


[rectangular logo with crowned lion:] R. B. A.
THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF BRITISH ARTISTS,

SUFFOLK STREET, PALL MALL,
LONDON.

AT A GENERAL MEETING OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF BRITISH ARTISTS ON MONDAY EVENING, UPON THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION OF MR. WYKE BAYLISS AS PRESIDENT, THE FOLLOWING GENTLEMEN[3] IMMEDIATELY TENDERED THEIR RESIGNATION OF MEMBERSHIP AND LEFT THE SOCIETY WITH MR. WHISTLER: - MESSRS. WALDO STORY, ALFRED STEVENS, NELSON MACLEAN, ROUSSEL, LUDOVICI, JUN., STARR, FRANCIS JAMES, RIXON, AUBREY HUNT, LINDNER, GIRARDOT, MAX LUDBY, ARTHUR HILL, LLEWELLYN, SYMONS, C. WYLLIE, A. F. GRACE, JAMES E. GRACE, J. D. WATSON, MORTIMER MENPES, JACOMB HOOD, CHARLES KEEN, AND J. J. SHANNON.

Voiçi mon tres cher Stevens, la lettre[4] à copier et m'envoyer de suite - comme nous en étions convenus -

Voyez comme c'est joli! -

Je medite une nouvelle surprise pour Degas[5]!) car bientot j'espère vous revoir pour vous conter toute la grande bataille[6] - quand nous sommes atablés devant Tortoni[7] -

En attendant j'ai à vous dire brievement que nous avons été battus! - que les imbeciles ont élu [p. 2] un autre President - qui n'existe meme pas - et nous sommes sortis en énorme quantité!! -

Il ne reste absoluement rien - personne! dans la Société -

J'ai annoncé formellement et avec grand effet que Alfred Stevens donne sa démission et sort avec moi!! - Il ne vous reste qu'a écrire la lettre, au Secretaire, en me la mettant sous envelope à mon addresse -

A bientot mon ami -

Whistler

Beefsteak Club -
King William Street, Strand - London -

Ecrivez moi cela demain n'est ce pas? pour que je l'ai Samedi -


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Here, my dear Stevens, is the letter to copy and send me at once as we agreed -

See how pretty it is!

I am thinking about a new surprise for Degas! Because soon I hope to see you again to tell you all about the great battle when we sitting at table in front of Tortoni! -

Meanwhile I have to tell you briefly that we were beaten! that the imbeciles elected another President - who does not even exist - and we left in enormous numbers!!

There is absolutely nothing left - nobody! in the Society -

I announced formally and with great effect that Alfred Stevens is giving in his resignation and leaves with me!! - It only remains for you to write the letter, to the Secretary, putting it into an envelope, to my address -

I look forward to hearing from you, my friend -

Whistler,

Beefsteak Club -
King William Street, Strand. London -

Write that to me tomorrow, won't you? so that I have it on Saturday -


Notes:

1.  7 June 1888
The date has a press-cutting pasted over it (see below). However, this letter enclosed another letter dated 8 June 1888, which Stevens was supposed to copy (see #05574).

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

3.  AT A GENERAL MEETING ... SHANNON
This is an unidentified press-cutting attached to the top of the letter. It concerns the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Society of British Artists, which took place on 4 June 1888.

4.  GENTLEMEN
The RBA members were Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more], Alfred Émile-Léopold Stevens (1823-1906), history and portrait painter [more], Thomas Nelson MacLean (1845-1894), sculptor [more], Theodore Roussel (1847-1926), painter and print-maker [more], Albert Ludovici, Jr (1852-1932), painter [more], Sidney Starr (1866 or 1867-1925), painter [more], Francis Edward James (1849-1920), landscape painter [more], William Augustus Rixon (fl. 1880-1936), landscape painter [more], Edmund Aubrey Hunt (1855-1922), landscape and rural painter [more], Moffat Peter Lindner (1852-1949), landscape and watercolour painter [more], Ernest Gustave Girardot (1840-1904), genre and portrait painter [more], Max Ludby (1858-1943), landscape and genre painter and engraver [more], Arthur Hill (fl. 1858-1893), landscape, genre and portrait painter [more], Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn (1858-1941), artist [more], William Christian Symons (1845-1911), painter and designer [more], Charles William Wyllie (1853-1923), land and seascape painter [more], Alfred Fitzwalter Grace (1844-1903), landscape and portrait painter [more], James Edward Grace (1851-1908), landscape painter and illustrator [more], John Dawson Watson (1832-1892), painter and illustrator [more], Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more], George Percy Jacomb Hood (1857-1929), genre painter and graver [more], Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891), etcher, cartoonist and illustrator [more], and James Jebusa Shannon (1862-1923), genre and portrait painter [more]. JW had hoped to defeat a proposal circulated by eight RBA members to force him to resign as President (#05321). However, when the matter was put before the council for the second time (an earlier meeting on 12 May had failed to depose him), he was defeated and Wyke Bayliss (1835-1906), painter and architect [more], was elected in his place. This resulted in a large exodus of JW's supporters including Stevens (see Minutes of the RBA, #13402; see also Dorment, Richard, and Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, pp. 49-55).

5.  lettre
Probably #05574, which is likely to be a draft of the letter that JW sent Stevens. However, Stevens seems to have been unhappy with the wording (JW to A. Stevens, #08138) as JW sent a revised version (possibly #09375). On 11 June, Stevens sent a letter of resignation to the RBA (#05575): compared with the malevolent tone of JW's draft letters, the polite tone of his letter suggests that he wrote it himself.

6.  Degas
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917), artist [more].

7.  grand bataille
That is, the Annual General Meeting of the RBA and JW's battle for the Presidency.

8.  Tortoni
A favourite restaurant in Paris.