The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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William Drake, 1817-1890

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1817
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1890.12.02
Place of Death: London


Sir William Drake was the Secretary of the Painter-Etcher's Society. In 1847 he married Katherine Stewart Forbes Goodwin.


Drake was Treasurer of the County Courts in 1862. For many years he had a close relationship with the Whips and leaders of the Liberal party. He became a Senior member of the Council in Bombay. He was awarded the Order of SS. Maurizio e Lazzaro of the Corona d'Italia, the Iron Crown of Austria and the Medjidieé (second class). Drake lived until his death in 1890 at 12 Prince's Gardens, South Kensington.

In 1881 JW was in correspondence with Drake, who was the Secretary of the newly formed Painter Etcher's Society. In the spring of 1881, the Society held an exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. However, when Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], submitted three Venice etchings, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], who was President of the Society, suspected that they were in fact by JW. Anxious to compare the etchings with those that JW had been printing for the Fine Art Society, Haden, Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], and Dr Edward Hamilton (1815 or 1816-1903), doctor of medicine and print collector [more], paid a visit to the Society's gallery. JW was indignant when he heard of the visit as he regarded it as an attack on his artistic integrity. A lengthy correspondence ensued. It was eventually published in a pamphlet, Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881.


Kelly's London Post Office Directory, London, 1861, 1862; Kensington etc Directory for 1882, London, 1884, et seq.; Annual Register, London, 1890, p. 203; Lugt, Frits, Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes: marques estampillèes et écrites de collections particulières et publiques; marques de marchands, de monteurs et d'imprimeurs; etc..., Amsterdam, 1921, nos. 723, 773; Hopkinson, Martin, No Day Without a Line: The History of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers 1880-1999, Oxford, 1999, pp. 13-14, 51.