The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Search for People > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: Whistler, Helen
Record 18 of 149

System Number: 06691
Date: [3 July 1881][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Helen Euphrosyne Whistler[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W685
Document Type: ALS

My dear Nellie -

Not much of a correspondent am I - over here anyhow - I was so glad to hear of Willie's[3] doing so well - that I almost expected another note or line perhaps with any scrap of better news still - Now I think you had better wait till I see you again - I mean don't send any more letters - keep them for my return - as I may leave here tomorrow night -

The weather is atrocious - East wind and dust all over the place - However I have eaten and drunken in a way that will be something to dwell upon! - and tonight I am going to see "Les Divorcons"[4] which I am given [p. 2] to understand is one of the most improper pieces that they have ever had at the Palais Royal! - delightful isn't it!

The pens at all the Cafés are like pins - and I can not write any more - so Goodbye

with best love to both


While here I sent a shot into the enemy's camp in the shape of a letter to Sir William Drake[5]! -

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs William Whistler
28. Wimpole Street
Cavendish Square
Angleterre -
[postmark:] PARIS / [3 / JUIL / 81?]


1.  [3 July 1881]
Dated from postmark. However the date is faint; it could read 8 July.

2.  Helen Euphrosyne Whistler
Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917), née Ellen Ionides, JW's sister-in-law [more].

3.  Willie's
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

4.  "Les Divorcons"
Divorçons by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), a light and topical farce, opened in 1880.

5.  Sir William Drake
Sir William Drake (1817-1890), Secretary of the Society of Painter-Etchers [more]. This is a reference to an incident between JW, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], and the newly formed Painter Etcher's Society. In the spring of 1881, the Society held an exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. However, when the American Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], submitted three Venice etchings, Haden (who was President of the Society) suspected that they were in fact by JW. Anxious to compare the etchings with those that JW had been printing for the Fine Art Society, Haden, Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], and Dr Edward Hamilton (1815 or 1816-1903), doctor of medicine and print collector [more], paid a visit to the Society's gallery. JW was indignant when he heard of the visit, regarding it as an attack on his artistic integrity. A lengthy correspondence ensued. It was eventually published in a pamphlet (Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881).