The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wyndham, Madeline C. F. E.
Record 3 of 19

System Number: 08777
Date: [15/22 November 1878?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 4/53
Document Type: ALS

I have seen Capt Campbell[3] immediately after leaving you - and he promises Mrs Percy Wyndham's picture[4]! the much desired Nocturne - I am to take it at his house tomorrow or on Sunday quite in time for Monday morning - So that's all right! - and now you must get the other from Mrs Noseda[5] -

But the first thing is for Petheram[6] to settle about [p. 2] the best room in his club[7] and have it cleared a little, and then I might arrange for a van to take the pictures from my place at7 6 o'clock on Monday morning - if and I could get Buggiani[8] to be at the club and see to their hanging while we went to court - unless indeed it were to be done tomorrow - but then of course they could not be seen on Sunday at my place -

Leave word about this if you are out -

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

Friday night -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [15/22 November 1878?]
Dated from references to Petheram and JW's works which relate to the Whistler v Ruskin trial (see notes below). 15th and 22nd November were both a Friday.

2.  James Anderson Rose
Probably written to James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more]. This letter relates to preparations for JW's libel suit against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The suit was in response to Ruskin's criticism of JW's works, especially Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170) in his periodical Fors Clavigera. On 2 July 1877 he accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of the I Summer Exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213.

3.  Capt Campbell
Probably Captain Frederick A. Campbell, naval commander.

4.  Mrs Percy Wyndham's picture
Madeline Caroline Frances Eden Wyndham (1835-1920), née Campbell, artist [more]. The Wyndhams owned Nocturne: Grey and Gold - Westminster Bridge (YMSM 145). It was one of the eight works exhibited by JW at the Grosvenor Gallery exhibition reviewed by Ruskin (see note above).

5.  Mrs Noseda
Mrs Jane Noseda (b. 1813 or 1814), print dealer [more]. Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more], deposited four of JW's works with Mrs Noseda, including, crucially, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170). It is likely that JW is referring to this picture since it was the chief subject of Ruskin's libel.

6.  Petheram
William Comer Petheram (1835-1922), barrister [more], who was JW's counsel in the Whistler v Ruskin trial.

7.  club
JW wished to prove his position as an established professional artist before the jury by arranging a small display of his works. Petheram's club (perhaps the St Stephen's Club) does not seem to have obliged as the display was eventually prepared in a hotel room at the Westminster Palace Hotel at Victoria Street. See Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, p. 126.

8.  Buggiani
Brazio Buggiani (b. ca 1818), picture restorer [more].