The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whistler, Thomas
Record 3 of 5

System Number: 07244
Date: 14 December 1894
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1232
Document Type: ALS

Dec 14 / 94


Dear Mr. Whistler,

I got your letter[2] in which you sarcastically allude to the exhibition of lithographs, laying special stress upon the association of Col. Goff's[3] with yours.

They were separate, but at the same time, let me tell you frankly, that there are many etchings of the Colonels that even Whistler need not be ashamed of. I am now in the midst of a two penny ha'lf penny busy season and (p. 2) snatch a moment to drop you a line, otherwise I would enter into details in regard to the why & wherefore of both exhibition's [sic] being held at the same time, but I must ask you to have your soul possessed with patience until I see you. The Colonel, by the way, is was in the Coldstream Guards, not the artillery, and his etchings are far from being as loud as your letter would make them out to be. His etchings have been bought by the French government and that ought to be something, for you are always telling me how superior the French are as patrons of Art, [p. 3] Heaven save the mark! though I notice that most of the painters in Paris depend on the foreign markets, the disliked English or the derided American being especially desirable. Need I inform you that I enjoyed immensely the imaginary picture of an American election. No doubt "afoh de wah" the Baltimore tough used to run things to suit himself & the New York tough also, but things have changed, and order is paramount. "French me no Frenchs". Supposing there are no platforms in France (which there are) do they buy "La dame Parasseuse[4]"? This French "appreciation" has rather a wearying effect after a while. Appre-[p. 4]-ciation in the form of $ and c. is more practical & that, I'll swear, the Frenchy's avoid, for in general, they are so "small" that they would skin a flea for the hide. I saw a picture of "Queen Boadicea[5] fighting the enemies of her Country" & I thought of you, so thinks I to myself, thinks I, "here's a present for the great man in Paris," but others must have thought so too, for it went beyond me, but I feel Boadiceish myself just now. The French are all right in their way but their way is picayune.

I thank you very much for your offer as to the portrait[6][.] I shall certainly bring it [p. 5][7] along when I visit Paris. If you see a figure clanking along the passage towards your house clad in armour you may know that I am that figure.

Yes, I have kept track of the Du Maurier[8] business.

I got the list of prices and have marked them (the lithos.) at your figures. If there is anything else to be done by me to please you, short of jumping off the dock, command me.

You see I know where to [p. 6] stop, so am not so mad as you would have me.

Many a time I think of the quiet garden at 110[9], in the midst of the hurly burly here, and wish I was transported across by merely rubbing a lamp - but I must finish and not think of walking up & down there with the ladies[10]. I heard, but know nothing of its' truth that T. Whistler[11] refused $10,000 for the "White Girl[12]" but I am inclined to doubt the yarn. I will find out however.

No, I don't Complain about the people I have educated buying Whistlers abroad, if he buys fine [p. 7] ones. By no means, I am glad, but when a man is offered "Westminster Bridge[13]" and refuses it to buy what you call "wreckage", then I get disgusted. There are other Cases of foreign glamour, but this is Enough.

I must close, with compliments of the Season to all, believe me, notwithstanding hard knocks,

Yours Sincerely

E. G. Kennedy.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

2.  your letter
Not located.

3.  Col. Goff's
Colonel Robert Charles Goff (1837-1922), army officer and amateur etcher [more].

4.  La dame Parasseuse
La Belle Dame paresseuse (C.98); Kennedy had objected to this portrait of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

5.  Queen Boadicea
Boadicea (ca 30-60), Queen of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia.

6.  portrait
Portrait of E. G. Kennedy (2) (YMSM 404).

7.  [p. 5]
Printed address header is repeated at top of p. 5 (as on p. 1).

8.  Du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more]. JW had objected to a libellous character (Joe Sibley, the 'Idle Apprentice') in Du Maurier, George, 'Trilby,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, serialised, begun 1 January 1894; reprinted (expunged) as Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894; regular ed., London and New York, 1895.

9.  110
110, Rue du Bac, Paris - JW's house.

10.  ladies
Presumably a reference to Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]; Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more]; and Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

11.  T. Whistler
Thomas Whistler, a relation of JW.

12.  White Girl
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38).

13.  Westminster Bridge
Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913), manufacturer and collector [more], had refused to buy The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39) (although he bought it in 1898) and instead bought The Selsey Shore (YMSM 200), a picture which JW refused to sign for him, asserting that it was not fit to be signed.