UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Art and Art Critics
Record 34 of 35

System Number: 13425
Date: [22 November 1902][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Samuel Henry Jeyes[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F312(b)
Document Type: ALd[3]


Sir -

From desperate Respectability to Crime there is but a step - & Podsnap[4] at bay, inevitably always takes it! Hence this morning's humiliating spectacle

His absolute privileged freedom from all embarassing [sic] sense of the ridiculous ridicule does away with hesitation - and we have this morning's humiliating spectacle of this middle aged worthy man crying for mercy & pleading for pity from -

Podsnap is stupendous in his freedom from all restraining sense of ridicule.

Let him back to his desk-

pleading guilty without the faintest modesty

An old man my Lord 'a very old man.' for whom there is a bewilderment with the various months of June in the one year

[p. 2] Unrestrained by the least embarassing [sic] sense of ridicule, he throws up his hands immediately & confesses to all & more

Stricken with the honest flattering spleen of mediocrity

An honest man my Lord 'a very honest man[']

I am much broken! and bewildered with the calendar - The June bug has struck and I see many months of June in this midsummer and it seems to me that for twenty years have I sustained this ingrate, this excentric one, whose ways were not the ways of my people, Indeed upon them and their blessed excentricity have I lived the while[,] turning the paragraph of many pennies, and

[Set up?] Puffed by him in his lifesaving penny paragraphs

[p. 3] Again the dreaded example of "the disastrous effect of Art upon the Middle Classes -

It was then as I said - deliberately planned was the inuendo [sic], that should mislead was hatched and [plotted?] by Podsnap with intent to mislead -

Podsnap admits then that it he did see the picture that it was it was at the Salon - where it was sent oddly enough "for such purposes - that it might be seen - At this last Salon

It was then as I expected - he had seen the picture at the Salon now. the Salon of yesterday that is the last Salon that was closed four months before the New Gallery was opened, and deliberately operated his shocking (concocted his misleading little paragraph upon knowing intently [illegible] his countrymen "with intent to decieve" [sic] - Does Podsnap, scholar & diletante propose not to know the to ignore the meaning of his own chosen words which we do not see for the first time?

That the little Cardinal[5] should have gone first from the easel to Exhibition

Let us really dwell upon this depraved state of Podsnap - there is something fascinating in the analysis & I begin to feel like the embod[i]ed preface to Poe's the "Purloined letter[6]" - or, in this more squalid case, like the startling [sudden?] Sherlock Holmes[7] - and I say "Podsnap! I know, by the mud on your boots that you concocted this infernal device for my destruction, in the purlieus of the Savill Club between the hours of at two in the morning!! "When the wine was white"!

Grasping & Dissatisfied with the large monies I have put into your hands for thrusting floating, in a Podsnap business manner, my "excentric Art" for "these last twenty years["] - you have now struck and given away the whole situation - ["]

& I shall be on the pavement with my chalks!


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Notes:

1.  [22 November 1902?]
This is written on a sheet containing a letter from E. G. Brown dated 21 November 1902 (#01380), which was presumably received by JW on the following day. It is one of several drafts (with #05526, #07476, #10900) of JW's response to a letter from F. Wedmore to S. H. Jeyes, 21 November [1902] (#12628).

2.  Samuel Henry Jeyes
Samuel Henry Jeyes (d. 1911), author and journalist.

3.  ALd
Fragments of the draft are written haphazardly and almost illegibly in pencil on both sides of the sheet. 'Let him back to his desk' is written in the right margin, and 'pleading ... one year' in the left margin of p. 1; 'It was then ...Exhibition' is written upside down to the main text on p. 3, as is the paragraph starting 'Let us really...' which continues from 'at two' in the left and right margins of p. 3, at right angles to the main text.

4.  Podsnap
JW portrayed Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), art critic [more], as John Podsnap, a pompous self-satisfied character in Charles Dickens's novel Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865).

5.  Cardinal
Grenat et or: Le Petit Cardinal (YMSM 469). JW complained that Wedmore had suggested in his review of an exhibition at the New Gallery that Grenat et or: Le Petit Cardinal (YMSM 469) was old work (#09448). Wedmore had in fact noted that the picture had been exhibited at the 12th Exhibition, Ouvrages de Peintures, Sculpture, Dessin, Gravure, Architecture et Objets d'Art, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1902, just before its arrival at the New Gallery. See also related correspondence: #05525, #05527, #09448; Whistler, James McNeill, 'Une Dernière Incarnation,' The Standard, 21 November 1902; Whistler, James McNeill, An Interrupted Correspondence, Chelsea, 1902 [GM, A.25].

6.  Purloined Letter
'The Purloined Letter', a detective story by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), writer and poet [more], starred a detective by the name of C. Auguste Dupin. At the beginning of the story Dupin says to the Prefect of Police that the case appears 'too plain ... too self-evident'.

7.  Sherlock Holmes
The famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), writer, creator of Sherlock Holmes [more]. JW appears to be making a point about clues that are deliberately misleading.