UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: poetry
Record 10 of 59

System Number: 13183
Date: [15 December 1886][1]
Author: Theodore Child[2]
Place: Paris
Recipient: Henry Labouchère[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PLc[4]


A FEW PAGES OF CLEVER PROSE

Excellent and impartial Truth!

Mr Whistler has misled you.

My article in the New York Sun (Dec. 5, and not Dec. 12, as you state) is entitled 'Mr Whistler's Ten o'Clock,' and deals exclusively with the paradoxes and theories of Whistler, the preacher, the lecturer, and the wit.

In the introductory lines, I took care to place Whistler, the admirable painter and the marvellous etcher, on a lofty pedestal of respect and admiration, before proceeding to criticise his few pages of clever prose, which will certainly not carry down to posterity the name of the painter of the portraits of Carlyle[5] and of Sarasate[6].

Mr Whistler labours under a delusion if he imagines that he is swaggering about London with my 'scalp' on the end of his slender wand.

On the contrary, I have a suspicion that it is only the damaged state of his own 'scalp' which causes him to adjourn so long, if not indefinitely, his promised evangelising trip to America.[7]

I enclose you the text of the incriminated [p. 2] article so that you may judge for yourself whether my criticism is not worthy of a more witty reply than Mr Whistler's re-hash and misapplication of a threadbare anecdote borrowed from the Christian épopée[8].

THEODORE CHILD.

Truth, Jan. 20, 1887


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Notes:

1.  [15 December 1886]
This letter was dated 'Paris, December 15, 1886' when published in Truth on 20 January 1887.

2.  Theodore Child
Theodore Child (1846-1892), journalist and art critic [more].

3.  Henry Labouchère
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more].

4.  PLc
This transcription is as published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890, pp. 151-52.

5.  Carlyle
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137).

6.  Sarasate
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315).

7.  trip to America.
JW's planned lecture tour was postponed and then abandoned.

8.  épopée
Fr., epic.