The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886
Record 6 of 14

System Number: 00329
Date: 10 December 1885
Author: Joseph Edgar Boehm[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B105
Document Type: ALS


10 Dec. 1885

My dear Mac

I was very sorry to miss you at the Suffolk St. Gal[2]. Your works there are lovely - I had to wait long to get near them & shall soon have another look "con amore[3]" at them[.] I went there early as I had to get an afternoon train for the country - (which you hate although [p. 2] give so exquisitely when you do go there -)

The Device of the "golden Vlies[4]" [sic] or ram - is all over Europe - Who would not give 10£ to have said that! - It will stick to Horsley[5] as long as he can walk - & talk[.] After that nothing - but he might live on through [p. 3] the Device - I shall go tomorrow to the Club to get the Pall Mall's as such tit bits must not be lost -

always yours

J E Boehm

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1.  Joseph Edgar Boehm
Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more].

2.  Suffolk St. Gal
The galleries of the Society of British Artists. The Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886 opened in November 1885. JW exhibited nine works, including Arrangement in Grey: Portrait of Master Stephen Manuel (YMSM 321) and Arrangement in Black, No. 8: Portrait of Mrs Cassatt (YMSM 250).

3.  con amore
Italian, 'with love'.

4.  golden Vlies
'Gulden Vlies' is dutch for 'golden fleece'.

5.  Horsley
John Calcott Horsley (1817-1903), historical genre painter and etcher [more]. Horsley had recently spoken before a Church Congress against the representation of the nude figure in art. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 57-8. JW affixed a label with the legend 'Horsley soit qui mal y pense' to Note in Green and Violet (YMSM 341), a pastel of a nude figure at the S. B. A. exhibition. The Pall Mall Gazette picked up on the story and noted JW's 'indignant protest' in its review (see Anon., 'Mr. Whistler's New Arrangements,' The Pall Mall Gazette: An Evening Newspaper and Review, vol. 42 no. 6469, 8 December 1885, p. 4).