The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06608
Date: [30 January 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W601
Document Type: ALS[3]



LE       189

Now Chinkie when are you coming? - Also how is it that you dont ask for more cheques? - Unless you have emptied the Bank with those three or four I left you, it is a mystery to me how you get on! - You must have done good Obi Chinkie dear for unless I deceive myself I have got on wonderfully!

Gandara[4] is an excellent fellow - and devoted to me -

Together we combined - and without a word I got him this morning to come and stand for me before the arrival of the Count[5]!! - He brought his dress clothes and I put in the whole of the background and the tone of the figure - then he bolted and at about one o'clock Montesquiou[6] appeared, and I put him in his place and went right on without his [p. 2] dreaming that other mortal had desecrated the atmosphere of the "respectueux[7]" so necessary to his existence! - Not bad was it Chinkie - However after all as he explained to me this evening with some elaboration Gandara himself, de La Gandara is "of race" - born in short - so that after all everything was saved! -

The picture tonight looked superb! But then you know the next day is what I dred always - so more Obi Chinkie if you please - However when this evening the lovely lithographs[8] arrived I looked upon it as a good omen - a sort of reward that my darling Wam had sent me to encourage the Grinder! -

Well matters here are getting hot - that is socially - There seems to be a sort of concentration of honours on the part of this French Nation - and a determination to thrust the Wams to the front -

Montesquiou told me that Madame Grefhüle[9] had wired that I ought "déposer[10]" my card at "Monsieur le Ministre"[11]'s - This I had of course felt myself - but he on his part stands by very firmly and when she asked for my address he did not give it - for he said I would doubtless find the Hotel Foyot encumbered with officials and swells - and as we had determined to remain in the mystery of work, this would play the very old scratch with our best resolutions - As he said himself it was rather his fault, for he would drag me, you know, into the World at that concert! - So it is arranged that the Countess shall manage it all and explain to the Ministre that I am not as yet officially here! In Paris there is as yet only my "pinceau[12]" - "and," continues the wise Count, "you are only here officially when Madame and your belle sœur[13] appear - It is supposed that probably the Ministre is looking for me in order to invite me to dinner! - So you must expect I don't know what all! - but in any case Chinkie it is great fun when you think of the fury of all the others - Leighton[14] [p. 3] and the rest! - Poor old Rose's[15] coachman was nothing to it in the way of "in among 'em"! Madame de Motebello[16] also has begged Montesquiou very hard to arrange to bring me to dine - but we are resisting every thing - The two keys came this morning without any further word - but I suppose they mean Grau[17] case of canvasses? - Did you send Smalley[18] one of the reproductions? which one? - Now I want the cutting from the Pall Mall about the "Venice Etchings". - the one that Thomson[19] wrote lately - I want it for Huish[20] - send it to me - if you can't find it, write and ask Thomson (- Strand on the Green - Clayton House I think) to get it for you at once - I suppose you have sent on the letter & cheque to Mr. Hanson[21] - I will write to William[22] - but I seem to have no time for any thing - What shall I do about Maus[23]? I have not written a line - Do you think that we might pack him off the Pink Meux[24]? - or would three of the framed Venice[25] do? "Doorway" - "Beggars" - & "Traghetto?" I dont even know that there is time - I am off to Mallarmé[26] tonight - Goodnight my own darling - write us a line and let me know whether to prepare for you -

[butterfly signature] who loves his Wam!

A nice little Rosie[27] turned up this morning in the Atelier! -

I thought you had sent her for Luck! - A tall bronze gold child - 13 - but long leggs - Italian - "Carmen Caïra[28]"! pretty name isnt it?

Octave[29] Maus's address: Secrétariat.
27. Rue du Berger

Most important. Send at once to Gentle Art which is dedicated to Jack McNeill[30] and the three others here[31]

Love to Bunnie -[32]

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs J. McNeill Whistler -
21. Cheyne Walk
London -
[verso, five blobs of red sealing wax stamped with monogram:] MF
[postmark:] PARIS 70 / R. GUICHARD / [ ] 30 / JANV / 92
[postmark:] REGISTERED / LONDON / C / 30 JA 92 / 2


1.  [30 January 1892]
Dated from the postmark. Dated 'février 1892' by Newton (see below).

2.  ALS
Published by Newton, Joy, La Chauve-Souris et le Papillon. Correspondance Montesquiou-Whistler, Glasgow, 1990, no. 84, pp. 168-69.

3.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. JW also called her 'Chinkie' and 'Wam'.

4.  Gandara
Antonio de la Gandara (1862-1917), portrait painter and pastellist [more].

5.  Count
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more].

6.  Montesquiou
JW was working on Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398).

7.  respectueux
Fr., respectful.

8.  lithographs
JW was working in Paris on lithographs for publication as Songs on Stone.

9.  Madame Grefuhle
Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), née Riquer de Caraman-Chimay [more].

10.  déposer
Fr., leave.

11.  Monsieur le Ministre
Henri Roujon (1853-1914), alias 'Henry Laujol', writer and administrator [more].

12.  pinceau
Fr., paint-brush.

13.  belle soeur
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

14.  Leighton
Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), painter and sculptor [more].

15.  Rose's
JW presumably meant James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

16.  Madame de Motebello
Mme Marie Louise Hortense Madeleine de Montebello (m. 1873), née Guillemin, society hostess [more].

17.  Grau
Frederick H. Grau (d. 1894/1895), picture framer [more]. What canvasses he was sending is not clear.

18.  Smalley
George Washburn Smalley (1833-1916), journalist and Times correspondent [more].

19.  Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

20.  Huish
Marcus Bourne Huish (1843 - d.1921), barrister, writer and art dealer, Director of the Fine Art Society [more].

21.  Mr. Hanson
Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), engineer, son of JW and Louisa Fanny Hanson [more].

22.  William
William Bell, JW's secretary [more].

23.  Maus
Octave Maus (1856-1919), advocate, writer and art critic [more].

24.  Pink Meux
Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (YMSM 229).

25.  Venice
The Doorway (K.188), The Beggars (K.194) and The Traghetto, No.2 (K.191).

26.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

27.  A nice little Rosie
Written at the top of p. 1. JW means a young model, like Rose Amy Pettigrew (b. 1872), a model, later Mrs Warner [more].

28.  Carmen Caïra
Carmen Caïra (b. ca 1879), model [more].

29.  Octave
Written in the left margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

30.  Jack McNeill
Possibly Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more].

31.  here
Triple underlined.

32.  Love to Bunnie -
'Bunnie' was JW's pet name for Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more]. Written in the left margin of p. 3, at right angles to the main text.