The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Howard, Francis
Record 20 of 87

System Number: 02286
Date: [February 1898][1]
Author: Francis Howard[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler I26
Document Type: ALS

9 Upper Cheyne Row Chelsea



Dear Mr Whistler

We held our Council Meeting at Princes Club on Thursday[.] Only four attended including myself. The others were Walton[4], Sauter[5], and Lavery[6], who took the chair. What work we were able to get through will be embodied in a report and sent to each member of the council in a few days[.] The cause of my writing you at present, is, Gilbert[7], and his position in regard [p. 2] to us. I went up to him a few evenings ago to tell him that the exhibition was practically arranged. He however was not in a listening mood, and rambled off into assertions that he could nere do any thing to harm the Academy and its great and good work as a charitable and Educational institution. In his opinion an Exhibition should be one financed by the subscriptions of 50 or 60 artists, and all the profits accruing, should go to swell the benevolent fund of the Academy.

This, of course, taking circumstances into consideration, is sheer mid-winter madness, and if it were not, would be quite unpracticable and impossible. I tried to diplomatise by suggesting that after we have reached great success through Admiral Maxse[8] and share holders, we might sell ourselves to the public as a company and realize [p. 3] a very large sum indeed to apply as we should choose, but am afraid his inattention prevented this extravagance taking any effect. Will you therefore please write him a very strong letter, or if you are in town or to be in town immediately, see him. It is necessary to know his position before using his name officially as of the Council - in the invitations to Menzel[9][,] Lenbach[10], de Chevannes[11] [sic], Besnard[12], and others to become foreign members, and in the official conduct of business.

[p. 4][13] Until we know his position we will be unable to hand Maxse'[s] solicitors our resolution to support the scheme - and unless we omit his name - and thereby delay the signing of papers, and business of the exhibition.

If you will let me know when you will be in town I will come and see you immediately.

Every congratulation on [p. 5] the result of the case[14]! The load is hard but!

Yours very sincerely

Francis Howard

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [February 1898]
Dated from other correspondence during this period, #02282; #02283; #02284; #02285.

2.  Francis Howard
Francis Howard (1874-1954), painter, art critic and collector [more]. This letter relates to preparations for the Exhibition of International Art, International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 1898, the first exhibition organised by the newly society.

3.  Confidential
Double underlined.

4.  Walton
Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922), painter [more].

5.  Sauter
George Sauter (1866-1937), painter [more].

6.  Lavery
John Lavery (1856-1941), painter [more].

7.  Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934), sculptor [more]. Gilbert chaired the second meeting of the ISSPG on 7 February 1898 but later resigned (see JW to J. Pennell, [25 February 1898], #07653, and Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 217).

8.  Admiral Maxse
Admiral Friedrich ('Frederick') Augustus Maxse (1833-1900), political writer [more].

9.  Menzel
Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel (1815-1905), artist [more].

10.  Lenbach
Franz-Seraph von Lenbach (1836-1904), historical and portrait painter [more].

11.  de Chevannes
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898), painter [more].

12.  Besnard
Paul Albert Besnard (1849-1934), painter, graver and writer [more].

13.  [p. 4]
Sheet numbered with a circled '2'.

14.  case
Probably a reference to the recent outcome of Eden v Whistler, JW's longrunning dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over JW's portrait of his wife.