The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 2nd Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1878
Record 17 of 20

System Number: 02366
Date: [5 December 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Lucas Ionides[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler I106
Document Type: TLc[3]


Now my dear Luke

I am going to call on you to execute yourself - that is if you dont think it vexing in one. Enclosed I send you a letter from Lord Archibald Campbell[4] - and the little Nocturne[5] I have thought of in consequence - and am emboldened to ask you for it because of your kind proposal to sell it for me yourself - and making it a condition that if you succeeded I was to take the difference between [what][6] you had yourself paid for it and whatever sum it might bring.

If you are of the same mind will you let John[7] bring back the picture with him - and if Mrs Fitzgerald[8] takes a fancy to it, I return you the £15 you so kindly let me have for it in my great strait - if nothing further takes place, the picture shall be restored to your walls forthwith.

I need not dwell upon the strangled state of "the Show[9]" just now. This you can pretty well imagine after all the time taken from my work by late campaigning!

Ever affectly Yours


Thursday Dicd. 'Dec 5. 1878 (see Calendar).'[10]

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1.  [5 December 1878]
Dated from day of week and JW to W. T. Watts-Dunton, #07386.

2.  Lucas Ionides
Lucas ('Luke') Alexander Ionides (1837-1924), stockbroker and businessman [more].

3.  TLc
This is a typed copy; the original appears at #07839.

4.  letter from Lord Archibald Campbell
Letter untraced. Its author was Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913), second son of the 8th Duke of Argyll, army officer, writer and businessman [more].

5.  Nocturne
Possibly Nocturne in Grey and Gold (YMSM 155) or Nocturne: Grey and Silver (YMSM 156). Ionides seems to have purchased Nocturne in Grey and Gold (YMSM 155) on 5 November 1878 (JW to A. Graves, #10913). Alternatively, it may have been Nocturne in Blue and Gold (YMSM 154), or another of the three Nocturnes exhibited by JW at the 2nd Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1878.

6.  [what]
This word added by hand.

7.  John
John Cossins, JW's valet [more].

8.  Mrs Fitzgerald
Mrs Fitzgerald, patron.

9.  Show
A reference to the precarious circumstances of JW's professional life rather than to a specific exhibition. He had recently won his libel case against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more], but without financial recompense.

10.  'Dec 5. 1878 (see Calendar).'
These words were added later by hand.