The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877
Record 9 of 119

System Number: 12072
Date: 5 November 1877
Author: James Anderson Rose[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Warburton Pike[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: MsD

1877 - W - No. 818

In the High Court of Justice
Queens Bench Division
Writ issued 28th July 1877

Between James Abbott McNeill Whistler
John Ruskin[3] Defendant

Dated the    day of     1877

'This [4]must be altered see draft copy'

Statement of Claim

Delivered the 1st day of November 1877 by Mr James Anderson Rose of 11 Salisbury Street Strand of Midsx County Plts Solr [Plaintiff's Solicitor]

1  The plaintiff [several words illegible] pictures painted by him.

2  On or about the 2nd of July 1877 the defendant falsely [accused?] [illegible word or words, deleted] 2  Shortly before before the publication by the def[endan]t of the libel [two illegible words] after [two or three illegible words] [come?] exhibited in a gallery called the Grosvenor[5] Gallery public gallery when the [eight or more illegible words] of an exhibit [three or more illegible words] called the Grosvenor Gallery on or about the 2[nd] day of July 1877 [two illegible words]

printed and published of the plaintiff in a pamphlet pamphlet called "Fors Clavigera[6]" the words following use that is to say "works in which the ill-educated is to say "Lastly the mannerisms and errors of these pictures" (meaning some pictures by Mr Burne Jones[7])" whatever may be [p. 2] "their extent are never affected or indolent. Thess work is natural to the painter however strange to us and it is wrought with utmost conscience of care however far to his own or own desire the result may yet be incomplete[.] Scarcely so much can be said for any other pictures of the modern schools[,] their eccentricities are almost always in some degree forced and their imperfections gratuitously if not impertinently indulged[.] For Mr Whistlers own sake no less than for the protection of the purchaser, Sir Coutts Lindsay[8] ought not to have admitted [p. 3] works into the gallery in which the ill-educated conceit of the artist so nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture. I have heard and seen and heard much of Cockney impudence before now but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face"

'4.  The expression[9] Mr Whistler refers to the plt'
5.  The said libel was falsely & maliciously printed & published by the deft the plaintiff's reputation has been much damaged by the libel'

The plaintiff claims damages for [afsd?] libel

1  £1000
2  The costs of this action

'No special[10] Damage can be proved I suppose'

'The plt proposes that this action be tried in the County of Middlesex'

J. Anderson Rose
11 Salisbury Street
Pltffs Solicitor

'I do not[11] think it
publication in the other
newspapers ought to be stated

Warburton Pike

Temple, 5/11/77'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

2.  Warburton Pike
M. Warburton Pike (d. 1889), probably a lawyer at the Exchequer of Pleas Division of the High Court.

3.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.

4.  This ...copy
Written in left margin, in another hand. The rest of the sheet contains drafts and alterations in two separate hands, many of which are illegible.

5.  Grosvenor
1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877.

6.  Fors Clavigera
Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213.

7.  Mr Burne Jones
Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898), painter and designer [more].

8.  Sir Coutts Lindsay
Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913), Bart., co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery [more].

9.  4. The expression ... the libel
Written in another hand, which appears to be the same used for the final paragraph below, 'The [plt?] ... Middlesex'.

10.  No special ... suppose
Note written in another hand, in left margin, with response 'No' in yet another hand.

11.  'I do not ... 5/11/77
Written in Pike's hand, and crossed through with one vertical line.