The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894
Record 6 of 19

System Number: 02903
Date: [16 January 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Stephen Richards[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 17/11
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac Paris

Dear Mr Richards -

I was very pleased to hear from you and to find that every thing is so brilliant with you! - Write me a line to tell me how my two sea pieces[4] took the varnish and how they looked when you had put them again in their frames - Now I want you to go at once tomorrow morning and bring away from the Grafton Gallery a smaller painting of mine that they have placed upon an easel - It is called "Blue & Violet[5] - Among the Rollers" - I have [p. 2] written to Mr Prange[6] to tell him that you would take it - Bring it home and if you think it dry enough, give it a rapid and even coat of varnish - for I know it would be much more brilliant with it - But this is what I want you to understand - I painted the panel out in the full sea - and some of the spray got upon it - and the salt made it a very long time in drying - and the last time I examined it - some two or three months ago, the surface seemed to me still sticky - so that I did not touch it, & it has never been varnished[.]

Dont rub it in any way - Perhaps you might gently wash it with a little beer in a soft brush - and that might take off any salt - I would dry it over hot air - only I fear the panel would warp - However you know all these things and in your hands I know I am perfectly safe - Therefore I say, if possible, varnish it - Then put it nicely back in the frame with the little[7] board at its back, & paste it in, and take it to the Gallery all right - the same evening - so that it may be in time for the Press View.

Write me a[8] line to tell me how you got on, and how it looks -

With my best wishes for your continued success,
Very truly

J McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


Mr Stephen Richards
4. Berners Street
Oxford Street
London -
[postmark:] PARIS-80 / R. DU BAC / E1¦ 16 / JANV / 94
[postmark on verso:] LONDON - W / V7 / JA 17 / 94


1.  [16 January 1894]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Stephen Richards
Stephen Richards (b. ca 1845), picture restorer [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Gallatin, Albert Eugene, Whistler's Art Dicta and Other Essays, Boston, 1904, and Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 54.

4.  two sea pieces
These were Dark Blue and Silver (YMSM 412) and Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers (YMSM 413), exhibited in Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894. Both had been painted in Brittany in September 1893; see JW's earlier letter regarding the varnishing of theser pictures (JW to Richards, [9 January 1894], #10719).

5.  Blue & Violet
Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers (YMSM 413), painted in Brittany, probably in September 1893.

6.  Mr Prange
Francis Gerard Prange (b. ca 1843), London art dealer [more].

7.  with the little ... Press View.
'with the little ... Press View.' is written in the right margin at right angles to the main text.

8.  Write me a ... Whistler
'Write me a ... Whistler' is written in the left margin at right angles to the main text.