The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Ford, Mary Bacon
Record 6 of 49

System Number: 01438
Date: 31 March 1888
Author: Mary Bacon Ford[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F370
Document Type: ALS

13 West 18th St: New York:

March 31st: 1888:

I have been in this part of the world all winter & now it is spring & still I do not leave it yet: there is so much to be done & it is so hard to get through -

I have not written you because I've had so much to say:

Mr Arthur B. Turnure[2] - who encloses this[3] to you as a very informal letter of introduction - asked me the other day if I knew you: I bethought me of the days when we mixed paint at Suffolk St[4] and laughed at pretty much everything and everybody - and concluded that I might say Yes -

Mr Turnure is a connoisseur in Art and en plus manages an Art paper - He has two specific matters to propose to you - [p. 2] one in connection with your experiment last spring in lithography[5] - the other in reference to handling a series of your etchings here - Mr Turnure will explain himself[6] just what his idea is - I simply charge you to heed what he says and to comply if you can - for your own interest:

We spent an evening last week looking over Mr Howard Mansfield's[7] collection: he seems to have every etching you ever etched and many of your drawings - I was so impressed with the idea you had probably forgotten half of them yourself & would so enjoy seeing them - that I resolved to tell you to come over if you could - and see what you really have done -

You have some friends over here at any rate who would be glad to see you:

What is the news?

Mary: Bacon: Martin:

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Mary Bacon Ford
Mary Bacon Ford, née Martin, art agent [more]. Ford seems to have arrived in London in 1885 and set herself up as an intermediary between artists and dealers (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 101). According to JW, she 'obtained a certain [romantic?] position of faith and following in the studios as the herald of a new "Arcadia" in the picture market.' See draft affidavit, #03220.

2.  Arthur B. Turnure
Arthur B. Turnure (b. ca 1856), editor of the Art Age, New York [more].

3.  encloses this
See A. B. Turnure to JW, 12 April 1888, #00200.

4.  mixed paint at Suffolk St
A reference to the premises of the Royal Society of British Artists of which JW was then President. Robert Macaulay Stevenson (1860-1952), painter and art critic [more], remembered visiting an exhibition at the Society with Ford and JW and 'Whistler [...] gave her his arm going around.' R. M. Stevenson to D. S. MacColl, GUL Whistler S242 [#05596, post-1903 letter].

5.  lithography
Over the past year JW had produced a number of lithographs of London subjects, such as Churchyard (C.21), Little Court, Cloth Fair (C.22) and Lindsey Row, Chelsea (C.23).

6.  explain himself
See A. B. Turnure to JW, #00200. Turnure wished to publish an article about JW to be accompanied by a portrait of JW by Paul-Adolphe Rajon (1842 or 1843-1888), painter and printmaker [more] and one of JW's lithographs. Turnure explained his etchings proposal: 'I understand you contemplate a tour of Spain in the near future. Would you be disposed to have this tour the occasion for making a series of 20 original etchings and printing 100 copies of each plate, which I would handle for you in the United States.' JW's etchings were selling well in America at this time through the dealers Wunderlich's and Knoedler's. In February 1888, Wunderlich's wrote to JW requesting additional supplies (see E. G. Kennedy to JW, #07155).

7.  Howard Mansfield's
Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), New York lawyer, print collector [more].