The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00228
Date: [16 March 1881][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Otto Henry Bacher[2]
Place: Florence
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B2
Document Type: ALS[3]

'1880-81[4] no 1 (March 18)'


Don't dream of it my dear Bacher! -

The society of Painter Etchers is already ridiculous and I intend that it shall die the death of the absurd -

So just "wait a bit" - and send nothing to this Seymour Haden[5] game - for I give you the straight tip - it can't possibly succeed - how should it!

I have only just got your long and jolly letter[6] and this line must go off instantly to acknowledge [p. 2] it's [sic] receipt and insist upon your not following where I don't lead!! -

More anon! -

Love to every body -

This is off to the post instantly - Sent a paper to the boys the other day addressed to Pennington[7] -

Every thing thing [sic] here bully -

Always Yours -

J A McN. Whistler

[butterfly signature]


[p. 3] 'use this -'[9]

This document is protected by copyright.


Otto Bacher
Poste Restante
'V. 1. Appollonia 11'[10]
no 3[11]
Firenze -
[stamps x 2:] POSTAGE / ONE PENNY
[postmark:] CHARING CROSS. W. C. / X / MR 16 / 81
[postmark on verso:] FIRENZE / 19 / 3 - 81 / 6 M
[postmark on verso:] 1A / DIST / 19 / MAR / 81


1.  [16 March 1881]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Otto Henry Bacher
Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), book illustrator and etcher [more].

3.  ALS
The letter is written at right-angles to the address. The paper has a mourning border, in memory of JW's mother Anna Whistler, who died in January 1881.

4.  '1880-81 ... (March 18)'
Written in another hand at the top of the sheet.

5.  Seymour Haden
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. Haden was president of the recently founded Society of Painter-Etchers. An incident had recently occurred which provoked JW's wrath against Haden, with whom he had not been on speaking terms since 1867. 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 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 and Dr Hamilton 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 JW eventually published in a pamphlet (Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881).

6.  letter

7.  Pennington
Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington (1854-1920), artist [more].

8.  'OTTO'
This is stamped upon the page in red ink.

9.  'use this -'
Written in pencil, in another hand.

10.  'V. 1. Appollonia 11'
Added in blue ink in another hand.

11.  no 3
Underlined three times.