The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Charles Whibley, 1859-1930

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1859.12.09
Place of Birth: Sevenoaks
Date of Death: 1930.03.04
Place of Death:


Charles Whibley was an English journalist, critic and writer. In 1894 he married Ethel Birnie Philip, daughter of the sculptor John Birnie Philip and his wife Frances Black. Ethel's elder sister Beatrix married JW in 1888, following the death of her first husband E. W. Godwin. In 1927, some years after Ethel's own death, Whibley married Philippa Raleigh.


Whibley contributed for many years a monthly article called 'Musings without method' to Blackwood's Magazine. Hartrick described him as writing in 'a high Tory style'. During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Whibley wrote for the Scots Observer (later the National Observer) and worked closely with its editor W. E. Henley, a poet and scholar with whom he shared many of his views.

According to Hartrick, Whibley was 'an obviously English type, and therefore something of a red rag to Whistler.' On one occasion he was mocked by JW for describing himself as something of a 'boulevardier' in Paris. However in 1897 JW did contribute a cover design for Whibley's volume of essays A Book of Scoundrels. Hartrick believed Whibley to have wanted to write the Life of Whistler, a task that was eventually undertaken by the Pennells (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908).


Kelly's Chelsea, Pimlico, Belgravia Directory, London, 1885; Annual Register, London, 1929, p. 115; Hartrick, Archibald, A Painter's Pilgrimage Through Fifty Years, Cambridge, 1939; 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.