Documents associated with: gift from JW
Record 15 of 45
System Number: 01849
Date: [1 December 1887]
Recipient: William Henry Smith
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G214
Document Type: MsLd
Having been officially invited, as President of the Royal Society of British Artists, to attend the Review by Her Majesty of her Fleet at Spithead on 2
73th of July last, I felt myself moved to offer some tribute, within the scope of my own art, and my own ability, to the enduring significance of a magnificent specta able [sic] which was something grand[ er?]er and loftier than a mere pageant.
[right margin] g g g g
I have accordingly embodied my impressions and observations, on that memorable day, in a set of Etchings - notes, as I may say of the needle, not the pen, taken at the moment and from point to point of that Imperial but pacific and more than Roman triumph, from Tilbury fort to the waters of Portsmouth.
These I am most anxious, as you will readily understand, to be allowed to submit to Her Majesty as an expression, sincere, though [p. 2] inadequate, of the emotions of loyalty, admiration and reverence aroused in the hearts of the myriads who witnessed the august display.
Your great kindness in the matter of a recent Memorial of the Society over which I have the honour to preside encourages me to hope that you may not think it an abuse of your Courtesy if I ask you to oblige me by advising me in what form and manner the submission of these Etchings to Her Majesty may be most appropriately and becomingly made.
In preparing them so to be submitted I have been gratefully mindful of the terms of commendation in which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to speak of the artistic execution of that Memorial prepared by me for presentation to Her Majesty, through the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Home Department, as well as of the lofty standard of artistic duty to which every member of that Society must feel himself bound by the high privilege [p. 3] and distinction which Her Majesty has been pleased to bestow upon it
And I am
Your most obedient Servant
5. set of Etchings
JW made a set of twelve etchings, the 'Naval Review set', 1887 (K. 316-331) (excat 7), that was presented to Queen Victoria in a specially designed album (see M.1132-3, 1138-45). The Album was in the safe-keeping of J. L. Pattison by 29 November, and its presentation to the Queen was acknowledged on 13 December 1887 (J. L. Pattison to JW, 29 November 1887, #04538; H. Ponsonby to JW, #04995).
On the occasion of Queen Victoria's fiftieth Jubilee, on 20 June 1887 JW sent an illuminated Address on behalf of the SBA (see M.1133-6). JW also, later, sent a Memorial to the Queen requesting that the Society be called 'Royal'. The SBA received a Royal Charter, thus becoming the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA).