The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: gift from JW
Record 14 of 45

System Number: 01850
Date: [1 December 1887][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Henry Smith[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G215
Document Type: MsLd[3]

Dear Sir,

Having been officially invited as President of the Royal Society of British Artists to attend the Review by Her Majesty[4] of her Fleet at Spithead on the 27th of July last I felt myself moved to offer some tribute within the scope of my own art & my own ability to the enduring significance of a magnificent spectable [sic] which was some thing grander and loftier than a mere pageant.

I have accordingly embodied my impressions and observations ofon that augustmemorable day in a [Beues?] set of etchings x[5] [p. 3] notes, as I may say, of the pencil rather thanneedle, not the pen, taken upon the Spot at the moment & from point to point of that Imperial but pacific & more than Roman triumph from Tibl Tilbury Fort to the [roadstead?] of waters of Portsmouth. [p. 1] now completed. These I am most anxious as you will reedily [sic] understand to be allowed to submit to Her Majesty as an expression, sincere though inadequate, of the emotions of loyalty, admiration, and reverence, aroused that day in the hearts of the myriads who witnessed that the august display. of the

Your greet [sic] kindness in the matter of the a recent Memorial of the Society presented by me through the Right Honourable the Secretary of State[6] for the Home Department to Her Majesty over which I have the honour to preside encourages me to hope that you may not think me it an abuse of your courtesy if I ask you to oblige me by advising me in what form and manner in the of submission of these Etchings to Her [p. 2] Majesty would be may be most appropriately & beco becomingly made. The a terms of commendation in which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to speek of the form 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

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 speek [sic] of the Execution of the artistic execution Execution of that Memorial prepared by me for presentation to Her Majesty through the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for of [sic] 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 Her Majesty's exceeding the high privilege & distinction which Her Majesty has been pleased to bestow upon itt [sic]

And I am
Your most obedient Servant

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1.  [1 December 1887]
This is the first of two drafts (see also #01849) of a letter dated 1 December 1887 (#09667).

2.  William Henry Smith
William Henry Smith (1825-1891), MP, statesman and bookseller [more].

3.  MsLd
Possibly written in the hand of William Henry Hurlbert (1827-1895), journalist and author, editor-in-chief of the New York World from 1876-1883 [more].

4.  Review by Her Majesty
On 27 July JW attended the Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead. He 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).

5.  xn
The words "x notes ... waters of Portsmouth" appear on p. 3 and are connected to this passage by an 'x'.

6.  Secretary of State
Rt Hon. Henry Matthews (1868-1874), QC, MP, Home Secretary [more].