The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Samuel Rutherford Crockett, 1860-1914

Nationality: Scottish
Date of Birth: 1860.09.24
Place of Birth: Little Duchrae, Balmaghie, Kircudbright
Date of Death: 1914.04.21
Place of Death: Avignon, France


Samuel Rutherford Crockett was a novelist and poet. He married Ruth Mary Miller.


Crockett was educated in Edinburgh, Heidelberg and New College, Oxford. He entered the Free Church of Scotland in 1886. He was a minister in Penicuik for some years and then became a writer and journalist. He published many novels and poems mostly on Scottish subjects, including Dulce Cor (1886), The Stickit Minister (1893), The Playactress (1894), The Grey Man (1896), The Black Douglas (1899) and Love Idylls (1901).

The publisher Fisher Unwin arranged for Whistler to make a lithograph of Crockett. In 1896 Whistler painted his portrait, The Grey Man: Portrait of S. R. Crockett (YMSM 453). Crockett recalled how he and Whistler would lunch together every day whilst he was being painted. He did not feel that Whistler liked him very much at first, but claimed that by the end 'we got on like a pair of brothers - even better'. Apparently Whistler would tell him stories of his early days in Paris and London. According to Crockett, Whistler got on well with Thomas Carlyle, whose portrait he painted in 1872-1873, Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). Crockett declared in April of that year that the portrait 'promises to turn out splendidly' and offered to pay to have reproduced it for Unwin [#11817]. Painting, however, was interupted by the illness and death of Whistler's wife. Whistler still had the painting in January 1898 when he suggested that Crockett come to Paris to retrieve it (#02940).


Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; British Library Catalogue; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980.