The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886
Record 5 of 14

System Number: 08096
Date: [10 December 1885][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Thomas Stead[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/38/1
Document Type: AL[d/c]S[3]

To the Editor

[N]o! kind sir -

"Trop de zele"[4] on the part of your reporter - for I surely never explain, and Art certainly requires no "indignant protest" against the unseemliness of senility -

"Horsley[5] soit qui mal y pense" is meanwhile a sweet sentiment - why more - and why "morality"!

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [10 December 1885]
Date of publication in the Pall Mall Gazette. Written in reponse to a review (Anon., 'Mr. Whistler's New Arrangements,' The Pall Mall Gazette: An Evening Newspaper and Review, vol. 42 no. 6469, 8 December 1885, p. 4) of JW's exhibits in Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886.

2.  William Thomas Stead
William Thomas Stead (1849-1912), editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1883-1890, founder-editor of the Review of Reviews in 1890 [more].

3.  AL[d/c]S
This letter was first published in 'Occasional Notes,' Pall Mall Gazette, no. 6471, vol. 42, 10 December 1885, p. 3, with minor variations ('representative' instead of 'reporter', and with no final exclamation mark). It was later published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 195. This version is a hand-written copy or draft. Another version of this text appears on the reverse of the same sheet (#08097).

4.  Trop de zele
Fr., too much zeal.

5.  Horsley ... pense
Fr., [ ]. A reference to 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 his own version of this sentiment to Note in Green and Violet (YMSM 341), a pastel of a nude figure exhibited at the Winter Exhibition, Society of British Artists, London, 1885-1886 (cat. no. 226). In its review of the show, the Pall Mall Gazette referred to this as JW's 'indignant protest' (op. cit.).