UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Fine Art Society, The
Record 3 of 549

System Number: 12986
Date: 16 November 1875 - 8 July 1883[1]
Author: Alan Summerley Cole[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published[3]
Document Type: PDc


[16 November 1875.] Dined with Jimmy; Tissot, A. Moore and Captain Crabb[4]. Lovely blue and white china - and capital small dinner. General conversation and ideas on art unfettered by principles. Lovely Japanese lacquer.

[7 December 1875.] Dined with Jimmy; Cyril Flower, Tissot, Storey[5][.] Talked Balzac [6]- Père Goriot - Cousin Bette - Cousin Pons - Jeune Homme de Province à Paris - Illusions perdues.

[6 January 1876.] With my father and mother[7] to dine at Whistler's. Mrs. Montiori, Mrs. Stansfield and Gee[8] there[.] My father on the innate desire or ambition of some men to be creators, either physical or mental. Whistler considered art had reached a climax with Japanese and Velasquez[9]. He had to admit natural instinct and influence - and the ceaseless changing in all things.

[12 March 1876.] Dined with Jimmy. Miss Franklin[10] there. Great conversation on Spiritualism, in which J. believes. We tried to get raps - but were unsuccessful, except in getting noises from sticky fingers on the table.

[25 March 1876.] Round to Whistler's to dine. Mrs Leyland and Mrs. Galsworthy[11], and others.

[19 March 1876] [JW] was in great excitement over Sir Coutts Lindsay's gallery[12] for pictures - very select exhibition, which he carried to an extreme by saying that it might be opened with only one picture worthy of being shown that season.

[24 March 1876.] To Leyland's house[13] to see Whistler's colouring of Hall - very delicate cocoa-colour and gold - successful,

[5 May 1876.] [JW] quite madly enthusiastic about his power of painting full-lengths[14] in two sittings or so.

[19 May 1876.] a strong commencement upon a nearly life-size portrait of my father[15], Looking at it reflected in glass, and how he figure stood within the frame.

[11 September 1876.] Whistler dined. Most entertaining with his brilliant description of his successful decorations[16] at Leyland's.

[16 September 1876.] Dined with W. Eldon[17] there. Hot discussion about Napoleon[18]. The Commune[19], with which J. sympathised. - Spiritualism.

[20 September 1876.] To see Peacock Room[20]. Peacock feather devices - blues and golds - extremely new and original.

[26 October 1876.] - To see room, which is developing. The dado and panels greatly help it. Met Poynter[21], who spoke highly of Whistler's decoration.

[27 October 1876.] Again to see room with Moody[22]. He did not like the varnished surface and blocky manner of laying on the gold.

[29 October 1876.] To Peacock Room. Mitford [23](Lord Redesdale) came.

[10 November 1876.] The blue over the brown (leather) background is most admirable in effect, and the ornament in gold on blue fine. - W. quite mad with excitement.

[20 November 1876.] With Prince Teck[24] to see Whistler and the Room. Left P. T. with Jimmy.

[29 November 1876.] Golden Peacocks promise to be superb.

[4 December 1876.] Peacocks superb.

[8 December 1876.] Article in Morning Post[25] on Peacock Room.

[9 December 1876.] Whistler in a state over article in Morning Post. Leyland much perturbed as I heard.

[15 December 1876.] Whistler now thinking of cutting off the pendant lamps[26] in Peacock Room.

[17 December 1876.] My father and Probyn[27] to see room. Jimmy much disgusted at my father's telling him that, in taking so much pains over his work, and in the minuteness of his etched work, he really was like Mulready[28], who was equally scrupulous.

[29 December 1876.] To dine with J. - the Doctor[29]. - Goldfish in bowl, Japanese trays. - Storks and birds. He read out two or three stories by Bret Harte[30] - Luck of Roaring Camp, - The Outcasts of poker Flat - Tennessee's Partner. Chatted as to doing illustration for a catalogue for Mitford, and to his Japanese woman[31], and a decorated room for the Museum.

[18 February 1877.] Called and found Whistler elated with the praises of the press[32] of the Peacock Room.

[5 March 1877.] late at Prince's Gate with Whistler, consoling[33] him. He trying to finish the peacocks on shutters - with him till 2 A. M., and walked home.

[17 June 1877.] To breakfast at J.'s. F. Dicey, young Potter and Huth[34] there. He showed some studies from figures[35] - light and elegant - to be finished.

[18 February 1878.] To Whistler's. - Mark Twain[36]'s haunting jingle in the tramcar: 'Punch - punch - punch with care - punch in the presence of the passenger (jaire).

[27 March 1878.] Dined with Whistler, young Mills, and Lang,[37] who writes. He seemed shocked at much that was said by Jimmy and Eldon.

[19 September 1878.] Called on J., who told me of his interview with Lord Beaconsfield[38] as to painting a portrait of him. He had been down at Hughenden - saw the old gentleman, who, however, declined.'

[16 October 1878.] Poor J. turned up, depressed[39] - very hard up, and fearful of getting old.

[29 June 1879.] To Whistler's for breakfast. Much talk about Comédie Française and Sarah Bernhardt.[40]

[7 September 1879.] [JW] apparently in great spirits [was] arranging his route to Venice [with Mr. Cole[41], and announcing that] everything was to be sold up.

[2 January 1881.] Jimmy called - as self-reliant and sure as ever, full of confidence in the superlative merit of his pastels[42], which we are to go and see.

[28 January 1881.] Whistler turned up for dinner very full of his private view[43] to-morrow. Later on, we concocted a letter inviting Prince Teck to come to it. His last draft was all right, but he would insist on beginning it 'Prince', although I assured him 'Sir' was the usual way of addressing him in a letter.

[18 March 1881.] [JW] highly incensed with Haden and Legros[44] conspiring to make out he was breaking his contract with the Fine Art Society.

[26 May 1881.] met Jimmie, who is taking a new studio in Tite Street[45], where he is going to paint all the fashionables - views of crowds competing for sittings - carriages along the streets.

[26 February 1882.] Found his commencement of my father[46], good but slight, full length, evening clothes, long dark brown cloak, red ribbon of Bath.

[17 April 1882.] In spite of his illness, my father to Whistler's, who fretted him by not painting - my father thought that Jimmy had merely touched the light on his shoes, and nothing else - although he stood and sat for over an hour and a half.

[2 May 1882.] After a long delay, Jimmy showed me his painting of my father, which J. can make into a very good thing.

[summer 1882.] [JW] in great form, with a new fawn-coloured frock-coat[47], and extraordinary long cane.

[24 September 1882.] To Jimmy's. He lent me proof of his Paddon and Howell correspondence[48]. Amusing, but too personal for general interest.

[8 July 1883.] Breakfast at W.'s. Lord Houghton[49], Oscar Wilde[50], Mrs. Singleton[51], Mrs. Moncrieff[52], Mrs. Gerald Potter[53], Lady Archie Campbell[54], the Storeys[55], Theodore Watts[56], and some others. Mrs. Moncrieff sang well afterwards. Lord Houghton asked me about my father's memoirs[57]. Margie[58] sat by him.


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Notes:

1.  [16 November 1875 - 8 July 1883]
Dated by A. S. Cole in his diary (which has not been located) and/or E. R. and J. Pennell in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908 (see below).

2.  Alan Summerley Cole
Alan Summerly Cole (1846-1934), textile expert and museum official [more].

3.  Published
Individual entries from Cole's diaries are scattered through the text of Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908. They are not given in chronological order but illustrate particular subjects. Specific page references are given below. The original document has not been traced. A manuscript copy made by R. Birnie Philip shows many variations in text and commentary, #03432; and a copy in another hand, in the Library of Congress, shows further variations, #13132.

4.  Tissot, A. Moore and Captain Crabb
Jacques ('James') Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), painter and etcher [more]; Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893), painter [more]; Captain Crabb, commander of The Brazilian in 1870 (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

5.  Cyril Flower, Tissot, Storey
Cyril Flower (1843-1907), barrister, Liberal MP, 1st Baron Battersea [more]; Jacques ('James') Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), painter and etcher [more]; George Adolphus Storey (1834-1919), portrait and genre painter [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

6.  Balzac
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), author [more].

7.  father and mother
Sir Henry ('King') Cole (1808-1882), civil servant and museum director [more], and Marian Fairman Cole (b. ca 1812, m. 1833), née Bond, wife of Henry Cole [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

8.  Mrs. Montiori, Mrs. Stansfield and Gee
Mrs Montiori, a social acquaintance of JW; Mrs Stansfield, a social acquaintance of JW, and Horace Jee, musician, JW's occasional secretary [more].

9.  Velasquez
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), painter [more].

10.  Miss Franklin
Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

11.  Mrs Leyland and Mrs. Galsworthy
Frances Leyland (1836-1910), née Dawson [more], and Isabel Marion Galsworthy (1841-1903), née Watson, wife of F. T. Galsworthy [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

12.  Sir Coutts Lindsay's gallery
Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913), Bart., co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 210).

13.  Leyland's house
Panels from the Entrance Hall at 49 Princes Gate (YMSM 175). This was the London home of Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 203).

14.  full-lengths
An example is Harmony in Flesh Colour and Black: Portrait of Mrs Louise Jopling (YMSM 191) (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, pp. 199-200).

15.  portrait of my father
Portrait of Sir Henry Cole (YMSM 180) (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 201).

16.  decorations
These became Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178) (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205).

17.  Eldon
Matthew Robinson Elden (1839-1885), artist [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

18.  Napoleon
Victor Hugo, Napoléon le petit. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189.

19.  Commune
The Pennells comment 'some old fellow feeling for Courbet, the reason perhaps' (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

20.  Peacock Room
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178); subsequent diary entries on the Peacock Room, including those for 20 and 29 November, and 4 December, are in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205.

21.  Poynter
Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), history and genre painter [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205).

22.  Moody
Moody, friend of A. S. Cole (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205).

23.  Mitford
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (1837-1916), Lord Redesdale (1886), diplomat, Secretary of the Office of Works, and collector [more]. The diary entries for 29 October and 10 November are in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205.

24.  Prince Teck
Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander (1837-1900), later Duke of Teck, husband of Princess Mary Adelaide [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205).

25.  Morning Post
The Morning Post referred to the owner as 'Mr Naylor Leyland' and would have given Leyland for perhaps the first time some indication of the extent of the alterations made by JW to the dining room (['Decorative Art', Morning Post, 8 December 1876]; see also Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 246). This and the next entry in Cole's diary, dated 9 December, are in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 205.

26.  pendant lamps
The lamps were designed by Thomas Jeckyll (1827-1881), architectural designer [more], and were not in fact removed (Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 206).

27.  Probyn
Sir Dighton Macnaghten Probyn (1833-1924), Secretary to the Prince of Wales [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 206).

28.  Mulready
William Mulready (1786-1863), painter [more].

29.  Doctor
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

30.  Bret Harte
Francis Bret Harte (1836-1902), writer [more].

31.  Japanese woman
On 20 March 1872 Sir Henry Cole had commissioned JW to design the figure of 'a Japanese art worker' for an arch in South Kensington Museum (#05518). Designs include r.: A Japanese Woman; v.: Girl with parasol (M.458). JW referred to it as the Gold Girl (M.461). It was never completed. There is no other record of the other projects mentioned on this date, a decorated room for the museum, or a catalogue for Mitford. It is possible that Cole misunderstood, and JW was referring to his designs for Thompson, Sir Henry, A Catalogue of Blue and White Nankin Porcelain Forming the Collection of Sir Henry Thompson. Illustrated ... from Drawings by James Whistler ... and Sir Henry Thompson, London, 1878 (see M.592-651).

32.  press
Quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 207.

33.  consoling
The collapse of JW's relationship with his most important patron, F. R. Leyland, appears to have come as a surprise to JW (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 207).

34.  F. Dicey, young Potter and Huth
Frank Dicey (ca 1838 - d.1888), painter [more], John Charles Potter (1854-1920), wallpaper manufacturer and collector [more], Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 191).

35.  figures
This may mean earlier drawings, such as Girl with a fan (M.533) or more recent ones, such as Nude standing, with legs crossed (M.685).

36.  Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), pseudonym 'Mark Twain', writer [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

37.  Mills, and Lang,
Mills, friend of A. S. Cole, Lang, friend of A. S. Cole (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 189).

38.  Lord Beaconsfield
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1882), Prime Minister of Great Britain [more]. JW described the occasion to the Pennells: 'Everything was most wonderful. We were the two artists together - recognising each other at a glance! "If I sit to anyone, it will be to you, Mr. Whistler," were Disraeli's last words as he left me at the gate. And then he sat to Millais!' (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 227).

39.  depressed
JW's depression is mentioned several times as health and financial problems combined in the 1870s (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 228).

40.  Sarah Bernhardt.
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), née Henrietta Rosine Bernard, actress [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 191).

41.  Cole
This entry was summarised by the Pennells (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 257).

42.  pastels
Venice pastels (see M.725-828). (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 292).

43.  private view
Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881 (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 292).

44.  Haden and Legros
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], and Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], had seen etchings of Venice by Frank Duveneck in the exhibition of the Society of Painter Etchers. They mistook them for etchings by JW, which had been commissioned and published by the Fine Art Society, where they were currently on view as Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5) (this diary entry is in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 296).

45.  Tite Street
JW signed the lease for 13 Tite Street on 22 April 1881, and lived there until 1885. (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 300).

46.  father
This and the next two entries, on 17 April and 2 May, are in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 302-303.

47.  frock-coat
JW was a noted dandy (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 300).

48.  Paddon and Howell correspondence
Samuel Wreford Paddon (b. 1843), diamond merchant and collector [more]. Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more]. See Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881 The diary entry is in in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 309.

49.  Lord Houghton
Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885), Baron Houghton of Great Houghton, biographer of John Keats [more] (quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 191).

50.  Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

51.  Singleton
Mrs Singleton, unidentified.

52.  Moncrieff
'Antoinette ('Nita') Gaëtano Moncrieff (b. ca 1849), née Mackie, poetess and singer [more].

53.  Potter
Mrs John Gerald Potter, wife of the collector.

54.  Campbell
Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more].

55.  Storeys
Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more] and Ada Maud Story (1856-1932), née Broadwood [more].

56.  Watts
Walter Theodore Watts (later Watts-Dunton) (1832-1914), solicitor, novelist and poet [more].

57.  father's memoirs
Cole, Sir Henry, with Henrietta Cole and A. S. Cole, Fifty years of public work of Sir Henry Cole, K.C.B. accounted for in his deeds and writings, London, 1884.

58.  Margie
Margaret ('Margie') Elizabeth Cole (b. ca 1860, m. 1879), née Clark, wife of Alan S. Cole [more].