The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wilson, Henry Francis
Record 2 of 3

System Number: 07076
Date: 8 March 1885
Author: Henry Francis Wilson[1]
Place: [Cambridge]
Recipient: JW
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1065
Document Type: ALS

Trinity College

Mar. 8. 1885

Dear Sir

I was unfortunately out of the way when your telegram arrived yesterday, and so could not reply till past seven o'clock. I then telegraphed to Beaufort House[2], Strand, giving you such particulars as I could, but in a few hours I heard from the Post Office that the telegram had not been delivered, as you were not known at the address given.

When Professor Colvin[3] first [p. 2] spoke to you we thought it would be possible to secure the University Museum's lecture-room: but that was unfortunately found to be out of the question. We then asked the Manager of the Theatre if he would lend it us for your lecture[4]: and he at once agreed. It is quite a small building, not of the ordinary theatre shape, and is an excellent room for speaking in. It was used for instance the other day for the inaugural meeting of the Fine Art Association, whose studios adjoin it. Indeed that was one of the considerations [p. 3] which induced us to ask for it, as there will be a small exhibition of pictures going on there next week, and the studios will be lighted up and open to the lecture-goers on Wednesday evening. The theatre holds 800, but we do not propose in any case to issue more than 600 tickets: and do not expect an audience much above 400. It will chiefly consist of University dons and their families, undergraduates, and members of two or three Art Societies.

I hope, as I said before, that I may have the pleasure of seeing you at my rooms after [p. 4] the lecture is over. Professor Colvin is coming, and a few of the members of our small University Fine Art Society.

I hope that what I have said will sufficiently explain the state of the case: but I may add that (as the Professor told you) no charge is being made for admission to any part of the room

yours faithfully

H. F. Wilson


J. McN. Whistler Esq.

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1.  Henry Francis Wilson
Henry Francis Wilson (1859-1937), barrister and colonial secretary, South Africa [more]. See also Wilson's earlier letter, #07075.

2.  Beaufort House
Beaufort House, Beaufort Buildings at 95 Strand, London, was the office of the opera agency run by Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901), impresario and property developer [more].

3.  Professor Colvin
Sidney Colvin (1845-1927), Keeper of Prints and Drawings, British Museum [more]. Colvin was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge in 1885.

4.  lecture
A reference to JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture,' his major public statement of his aesthetic ideas. He first delivered the lecture in London on 20 February 1885. He would repeat it before the University Fine Art Society at the Theatre Royal, Cambridge, on 11 March (see printed invitation, #12590). A version of the text of the lecture may be found at #06791.