The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Graham, William (1817-1885)
Record 11 of 17

System Number: 08639
Date: [5/9 April 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: [Charles William Dowdeswell?][2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: ALS

Did you buy the "Nocturne in Blue & Silver", at the Graham sale[3] the other day at Christie's? -

If not you have missed it!! - I relied on your getting it - and just think of the unheard of success!! It was received with hisses!!!. So the Observer says[4] -

This you know is the very first example of the kind -

You look out for the Observer [p. 2] next Sunday! -

Next week I shall be a good deal with you - meanwhile put down on your list for Private View -

Lady Hampson[5]. 21. Albert Gate - Knightsbridge
2. Cards
Col. Ralph Vivian[6] -
Hans Place - Chelsea
2. Cards.
Baroness de [Teintégnie?][7]
Hans. Place - Chelsea

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [5/9 April 1886]
Dated from reference to report in the Observer.

2.  [Charles William Dowdeswell?]
Probably Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915), art dealer [more].

3.  Graham sale
The sale of the collection of William Graham (1817-1885), MP and collector [more], took place at Christie and Manson's auction rooms on 2 and 3 April 1886. It included important works by contemporary artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more], and George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), painter and sculptor [more]. Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140), then known as 'Nocturne in Blue and Silver,' had been owned by Graham since 1877; it was purchased by Robert Hichens Camden Harrison (1837?-1924), collector [more]. See report in the Saturday Review, 10 April 1886; and Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol 2. p. 59.

4.  Observer says
A report described the sale of Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge: 'The next work on the easel was "A Nocturne in Blue & Silver," by J. M. Whistler. It was received with hisses. This nocturne, which was used in evidence at the trial of Whistler versus Ruskin, fetched 60gs.' (Observer, 4 April 1886, No. 4950, p. 6). A week later, JW responded ironically: 'It is rare that recognition, so complete, is made during the lifetime of the painter, and I would wish to have recorded my full sense of the flattering exception in my favour.' See Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to the Editor], The Observer, 11 April 1886 and #11342; published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 176.

5.  Lady Hampson
Lady Hampson, wife of the 9th Baronet. The cards were invitations to the private view of 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886 on 29 April (see invitation, #13298).

6.  Col. Ralph Vivian
Lt.-Col. Ralph Vivian (1845-after 1905), army officer [more], who lived at 5 Hans Place, near JW in Chelsea.

7.  Baroness de [Teintégnie?]
Probably Baroness de Tinténiac, a social acquaintance of JW; she may have been visiting Colonel Vivian.