The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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William Stott, 1857-1900

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1857.11.30
Place of Birth: Oldham
Date of Death: 1900.02.25
Place of Death: at sea


William Stott of Oldham was an English genre and landscape painter.


Stott studied art in the ateliers of Bonnat and Jean Léon Gérôme and at the École des Beaux-Arts.

In 1884 Octave Maus, the secretary of Les XX, invited Stott to contribute to the group's first exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. JW was also invited along with William Merritt Chase and John Singer Sargent.

JW proposed Stott for membership of the Society of British Artists in 1884. When JW, who became President of the Society in 1886, was forced to resign in 1888 after objections to his exhibiting policy, Stott followed in support. On 11 June 1888 the Pall Mall Gazette quoted JW as saying, 'the ''Artists'' have come out, and the ''British'' remain'.

JW's mistress Maud Franklin posed for Stott on a number of occasions, both clothed and nude. Stott's Birth of Venus (1887; Oldham Art Gallery), for which Maud had posed, was brutally attacked by reviewers when it was shown at the exhibition of the SBA in 1887. The Manchester Examiner (2 December 1887) declared, 'Stott instead of a goddess has given us a red-haired topsy'.

Stott was a great admirer of JW. In a letter to the Court and Society Review (29 July 1886), he praised his work declaring, 'Whistler has busily woven and created for our delight works of marvellous beauty, from his fairy-like etchings of Venice to his soul-appealing Carlyle and Sarasate of today'. However, on 3 January 1889, in the Hogarth Club, Stott and JW quarrelled. The Birmingham Daily Gazette (19 January 1889) reported that the quarrel was over 'the model who sat for that rueful Venus rising from the sea'. JW wrote to the Secretary of the Hogarth Club on 4 January 1889 that he had been insulted by another member, Stott. After investigation, the committee asked Stott to apologize, he refused, and resigned. In 1900 Stott died at sea, and JW responded by declaring that that was 'where he always was'.


Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.