The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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John McClure Hamilton, 1853-1936

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1853.01.31
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, PA
Date of Death: 1936.09.10
Place of Death:


John McClure Hamilton was an artist.


Hamilton, who specialised in portrait painting, studied at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Academy in London, as well as in Antwerp and Paris. He settled in London in 1878, where he exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, New English Art Club, Barbizon House, Arthur Tooth and Sons Gallery and Society of British Artists, a Society which elected JW its President in 1886, as well as at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Hibernian Academy and Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He was elected a member of the New English Art Club in 1890, two years after JW exhibited with the group, and a member of Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1891.

In 1890 Hamilton helped JW to frustrate the plans of the journalist Sheridan Ford, who had planned to publish an edition of JW's correspondence, originally with JW's support, but later in opposition to JW's own plans. Ford's volume, published in Antwerp, was seized by JW's lawyers, preventing its sale and distribution (#01950). Hamilton, Ford's friend, had initially encouraged Ford to refuse JW's pay off and complete the book, avoiding any material which might have copyright problems. Indeed, Ford dedicated the book to Hamilton, 'a great Painter and a Charming Comrade / In Memory of Many Pleasant Days' (#11296).

JW, who misunderstood Hamilton's role in the Sheridan Ford affair, refused to meet him in later years. In 1893 both he and Hamilton showed works at the World's Columbian Exposition organised by the Department of Fine Arts in Chicago (#05765), but JW wanted nothing to do with him (#03229). Hamilton also exhibited with the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers at their first exhibition in 1898, a Society which had elected JW its President.


Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Hamilton, J. McLure, Men I have Painted, London, 1921; Johnson, J., and Anna Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Walkley, Giles, Artists' houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1994.