The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Fane, Violet
Record 10 of 10

System Number: 01072
Date: 26 April [1892][1]
Author: Violet Fane[2]
Place: Winchfield, Hampshire
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F3
Document Type: ALS

*Country chateau of the S. family[3].

26th April.

I cannot tell you, my dear Mr. Whistler, how touched & pleased I have just been made by your kindest of kind letters about my 'Sophy[4]'. It only reached me today, as I am here for about a week longer, & I must at once scuttle off a few words to tell you what [p. 2] delight it has given me to think that you - an artist, & above all, an artist not only by the cunning of your hand, but in soul - should appreciate what I have written. To me, it seems a very poor transcription, or setting down, of what was in my mind, but being, like Sophy, 'only a woman' I fear I shall never be able to realize my ideal in achievement - Perhaps this is a good sign, for I [p. 3] fancy that as the Real is never equal to the Ideal, the artist whose work is equal to his conception cannot have imagined anything great. You are wrong in what you say about my want of interest in the Chelsea Studio - I can truly say that it is my delight to visit it, & to look at the creations of your genius & to hear of any new success - Today, for instance, I read how Mrs. Meux[5] was to have the place of honour at the Paris Salon [p. 4] & forthwith I began quite to plume myself, thinking that it was a triumph for one of us[6]! - This, of course, is presumption, but tell me in what way have I shown, since first we met, that I did not admire & look up to you artistically? I had fancied that we "swore brotherhood" almost immediately, & that, knowing I understood is appreciated, you did not require words - Never, you must remember but once - have I been alone with you at your Studio - & amongst the "table talk" of the professed critic, I have sometimes feared to lift up my humble voice - but I do admire, appreciate, &, I think - understand - & I think of you always as one of the most congenial & gifted of my friends -

Yours ever

"Violet Fane"

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1.  26 April [1892]
Dated by the reference to the Salon (see below).

2.  Violet Fane
Mary Montgomerie Lamb (1843-1905), pseudonym 'Violet Fane', writer [more].

3.  S. family
The Singleton family.

4.  Sophy
JW had been reading Fane's novel Sophy: or, the Adventures of a Savage, London, 1881.

5.  Mrs. Meux
Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (YMSM 229) was exhibited at the 2nd Exhibition, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1892.

6.  us
Double underlined.