The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877
Record 28 of 119

System Number: 08967
Date: 8 June 1878
Author: George Parsons[1]
Place: Ambleside
Recipient: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: MsLS


I hereby certify that John Ruskin[3] of Brantwood Coniston Esqre is and in all probability will be for some time in a totally unfit state of health[4] to attend to or take part in the action[5] pending between himself & Mr. Whistler.

Dated this 8th day of June 1878


George Parsons A. B. M. B.

L. R. C. S.  J.& L. Nr

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  George Parsons
Dr George Parsons (b. 1849), physician [more]. A copy of this letter is enclosed with J. A. Rose to JW, #05226.

2.  James Anderson Rose
This letter was addressed to James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more] (see #05226).

3.  John Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

4.  state of health
During the spring and summer of 1878, Ruskin suffered recurrent bouts of mental illness which stalled proceedings several times to bring the case to trial. Although he recovered, latterly Ruskin became reluctant to attend the trial at all (see Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, pp. 95-96).

5.  action
JW initiated a libel suit in response to Ruskin's criticism in his journal Fors Clavigera. On 2 July 1877, Ruskin accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of the I Summer Exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213. The trial took place at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.