The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Graham, William (1817-1885)
Record 14 of 17

System Number: 11342
Date: [11 April 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edward Dicey[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 14/1248
Document Type: MsLc[3]


The Graham Sale[4].

To the Editor of the Observer


In your report of the Graham Sale of pictures at Messrs Christie & Mansons' rooms (April 3) I read the following -

"The next work put upon the easel was a 'Nocturne in blue & silver,' by J. M. Whistler. It was received with hisses"

May I beg through your widely spread paper, to acknowledge the distinguished, though I fear unconscious compliment so publicly paid.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [11 April 1886]
Date of publication in the Observer.

2.  [Edward Dicey]
Edward James Stephen Dicey (1832-1911), barrister, author and journalist [more], was editor of the Observer, 1870-1889.

3.  MsLc
This is written in another hand and is an incomplete copy of a letter published in the Observer. See Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to the Editor], The Observer, 11 April 1886. The full version appears in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 176.

4.  Graham Sale
The sale of the collection of William Graham (1817-1885), MP and collector [more] took place 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. The report published in the Observer stated that 'it was received with hisses' when displayed before the crowd. A week later, JW ironically responded: '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' (Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 176). The picture was purchased for 60 guineas by Robert Hichens Camden Harrison (1837?-1924), collector [more]. See also 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.