The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wilde, Oscar
Record 6 of 154

System Number: 07895
Date: [21 April/1 May 1881][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Fox[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/36/1
Document Type: ALS[3]

[roundel with head of Leonardo]


Just a line my dear Fox, to enclose the pernicious literature[4] promised - and to tell you all again how charming was my visit among you - .

The souvenirs I bring away with me are of such a delightful nature - that I warn you I shall doubtless make [p. 2] another descent upon you - and this next time bring Oscar Wilde[5] with me - who meanwhile has been so affected by my account that I assume he has bolted to Oxford that he may at once retremper[6] himself in University Air! -

Milles amitiés
Always Yrs

J A McN. Whistler

You and [Jacomb?] & Wallop[7] will have to share among you the fatigue of all this printed matter you have brought upon yourself! - and by the way I ought to point out that you should read the 'Extracts from the Press[8]' first - and then the letter to the Committee - after which achievement if not absolutely prostrate, you will have a tolerably clear idea of the
Haden - Piker - Painter - Etcher - Plot! -

I reached town you will be pleased to hear, just in time for the dinner! and I can only trust you [p. 3] said many amiable things for me to the Proffessor [sic] - and 'OB'[9] -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [21 April/1 May 1881]
Dated from reference to JW's return to London, after visiting 21 rue de l'arc de Triomphe, home of George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more], between 14 and 21 April 1881. See Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, pp. 518-19.

2.  Fox
Fox, unidentified.

3.  ALS
Published in Maggs sale catalogue no. 473, London, 1926, item 715.

4.  literature
Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881. This pamphlet recounts an incident between JW, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more] and the newly formed Painter Etchers' Society. In the spring of 1881, the Society held an exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. However, when 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 which was published in the press (see 'A Storm in an Aesthetic Teacup,' The Cuckoo: The News and Gossip of the Day, 12 April 1881; 'Mr Whistler and the Painter Etchers,' 30 April 1881) and later in JW's pamphlet.

5.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

6.  retremper
To brace or steel oneself (CED); or Fr., immerse.

7.  [Jacomb?] & Wallop
Probably George Percy Jacomb Hood (1857-1929), genre painter and graver [more], and John Fellowes Wallop (1859-1925), second son of the 5th Earl of Portsmouth [more].

8.  Extracts from the Press
The 'Piker Papers' pamphlet appeared in several forms. 'Extracts from the Press' refers to the correspondence which was published together with the two articles from the Cuckoo (see note above). See also correspondence between M. B. Huish and F. S. Haden, #01131, #01944; JW to F. S. Haden, #13147; JW to Painter-Etchers' Society, #11632, #13151; F. S. Haden to E. G. Brown, #01943; JW to C. A. Howell, #02878.

9.  Proffessor [sic] - and 'OB'
Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], and Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), book illustrator and etcher [more]. Duveneck was in London sometime between April and the late summer of 1881 (see Elizabeth Wylie, Explorations in Realism: 1870-1880 Frank Duveneck and his Circle from Bavaria to Venice, exh. cat., Danforth Museum 21 April -2 July 1989, p. 46).