UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 5 of 56

System Number: 07621
Date: 10 April 1873
Author: Joseph Edgar Boehm[1]
Place: [London]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Call Number: Ms 1770 f.236-7
Document Type: ALS


April 10th 1873

My dear Whistler

I have just seen the portrait at Mr. Pearce[2]'s. It has not a trace of Reynolds[3] but seems much more like Hogarth's[4] painting - and if it is to be a great man by a great man - I should call it Garrick[5] by Hogarth

I have heard so much of the power of Garrick to change his face into anybody else's that I [p. 2] will believe it is he - but the portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds of him [-] One at the Garrick Club[6] - one at 1 Addison Road belonging to J L Fox[7] and one that was sold the other day at Christie's[8] [-] also the one which was last year at Burlington House[9] gave me the Idea of a man belonging to [p. 3] a different Species - whose face would be flabby (The Métier' would always make it so) - even in old age - Did not the touch & manner of the painting remind you of the picture by Hogarth[10] from Greenwich Hospital (at Burlington House exhibition last year?[)] and the few unfinished works of Hogarth are all [p. 4] painted on the same ground & equally well drawn.

The frame shows by the putty ornaments in the corners that it (the frame) is not so old as the owner supposes - It is the style of 1840 - If the Garrick Club will buy it to put it on the place of an O'Neil[11], they do well.

Yours

J E Boehm


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Notes:

1.  Joseph Edgar Boehm
Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more].

2.  Pearce
Probably Charles Sprague Pearce (1851-1914), genre and portrait painter [more].

3.  Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), painter [more]. He painted Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy, Garrick Club, London; Garrick as Kitely in 'Every Man in His Humour', 1768, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; Garrick Reading to Mrs Garrick, 1773, private collection; David Garrick, Esq.,, Folger Shakespeare Library (see Stone, George Winchester, Jr., and George M. Kahrl, David Garrick. A Critical Biography, Southern Illinois University Press, 1979, repr. pp. 158, 281, 466, 637).

4.  Hogarth
William Hogarth (1697-1764), painter and engraver [more]. He painted Garrick as Richard III awakening from his dream at Bosworth Field, 1745, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; and David Garrick and his wife, 1752-57, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; in addition James Basire engraved a drawing by Hogarth, Garrick as the Farmer in 'The Farmer's Return from London', 1762 (Stone and Kahrl, op. cit., pp. 27, 103, 235).

5.  Garrick
David Garrick (1717-1779), actor and theatre manager [more]. His enormous popularity is shown by the great number of paintings and engraved portraits by artists from Britain and the Continent, including Reynolds and Hogarth, Nathaniel Dance and Pompeo Battoni.

6.  Garrick Club
A private men's club for actors and others connected with the theatre, in London. The art collection includes Sir Joshua Reynolds' painting, Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy (Stone and Kahrl, op. cit., repr. p. 158).

7.  J L Fox
J. L. Fox, collector [more]. Graves and Cronin list as by Reynolds, David Garrick As Kitely, described as a half-length, 30 x 25", 'leaning on his right arm, his left hand visible beneath a cloak dressed in Vandyke costume', a replica of the original portrait. This replica had been exhibited in Manchester 1857 (cat. no. 286) lent by Col. (later General) Fox. Fox put it up for auction at Christies, London, 27 June 1863 (lot 62, bought in at £89.5.0), and again on 4 July 1874 (lot 21, bought by Henry Graves and Co. for £77.14.0), Graves sold it to Louis Huth in 1875 for £250 (see Graves, A., and William Vine Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1899 (3 vols.), vol. 1, p. 350, and see pp. 346-52.

8.  Christie's
Christie, Manson and Woods, London auctioneers.

9.  Burlington House
Reynolds' Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy was lent by William Angerstein to International Exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1872 (cat. no. 78). It is now in the Garrick Club, London.

10.  picture by Hogarth
Four paintings by Hogarth were lent to International Exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1872 (cat. nos. 12, 19, 37 and 45). Boehm must mean Hogarth's famous portrait of Captain Coram, now owned by the Coram Foundation. It was lent by the Foundling Hospital, not the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich.

11.  O'Neil
Possibly George Bernard O'Neill (1828-1917), genre and portrait painter [more].