The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: Fine Art Society, The
Record 17 of 549

System Number: 13286
Date: [December 1878?][1]
Author: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: [London]
Recipient: [none]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: AD

Quotation from Ruskin[3] as to Contradicting himself 3 times

The age of duelling has happily passed away and the physical condition & reported illness of one of the parties precludes the suggestion of the use of the horse whip but a British Jury have decided that the following is a criticism of Works of art (set out libel)

[p. 2] The friends of Mr Whistler believe that this is a personal & most injurious abuse of the man & a grievous wrong inflicted on Mr Whistler for which Justice is not to be obtained by law nor by the code of Society[.] Many friends of Mr Whistler deeply sympathise with him in the failure in of his attempt to obtain Justice & with the knowledge of the facts that in making such [p. 3] attempt the result has been to entail upon him a very large liability for the Costs of the legal proceedings.

Mr Ruskin has appealed for pecuniary assistance to pay his costs in the name of a so called Fine Art Society[4] - which is in fact a Limited Co for the sale of prints & other works of art - in which Limited Company Mr Ruskin is a large Shareholder

I have[5] searched at the Registry office & found that this is not the fact[,] Ruskin's name does not appear as a shareholder

[p. 4] Under the circumstances the admirers of Mr Whistler's works & those who appreciate his manly Courage in seeking redress for personal insult (not criticism which he courts) - have determined to make this personal appeal for pecuniary assistance to enable Mr Whistler to pro resume his artistic works as a painter and etcher freed [p. 5] from the legal claims and losses which have beset him in consequence of the violent personal attack made on him by Mr Ruskin

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [December 1878?]
The case of Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878. This document is a draft for an appeal to raise JW's costs, which did not materialise.

2.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more]. Another version of this is #12007; a partial copy is #12058. Rose had penned some of these thoughts to JW on 29 November 1878; see #05231.

3.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

4.  Fine Art Society
The Fine Art Society did indeed head a subscription to pay Ruskin's costs; they also eventually commissioned JW to produce Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5), which did help to restore his fortunes.

5.  I have ... shareholder
Added in left margin.