UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01856
Date: 30 November 1889
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Elisabeth Greffulhe[1]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G221
Document Type: ALS[2]


Comment vous remercier, chère Comtesse, pour la belle "broderie rouge" que vous m'envoyez!

S'il y avait quelque chose qui puisse me rendre encore plus fier de la grande distinction[3], dont vous me donnez la première nouvelle[4], ce serait la certitude que c'est par les plus jolies mains de France qu'est passé le fil[5]. -

[butterfly signature][6]

Chelsea -

Nov. 30. 1889.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

How can I thank you, dear Countess, for the beautiful "red embroidery" which you have sent me!

If anything could make me more proud of this great distinction, of which you have given me the first intimation, it must be the certainty that the thread has passed through the prettiest hands in France. -

[butterfly signature]

Chelsea - Nov. 30. 1889


Notes:

1.  Elisabeth Greffulhe
Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), née Riquer de Caraman-Chimay [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Newton, Joy, 'Whistler's French Connections: Count Robert de Montesquiou and Countess Greffulhe,' Laurels, vol. 53, no. 1, p. 31. Also published in MacDonald, Margaret F. and Joy Newton, 'Letters from the Whistler Collection (University of Glasgow). Correspondance with French Painters,' Gazette des Beaux Arts, no. 128, December 1986, pp. 201-214.

3.  la grande distinction
At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 Whistler was awarded a gold medal and afterwards made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

4.  la première nouvelle
In fact Whistler learned the news from Eugène Spüller on 27 November 1889 (#01490).

5.  le fil
Whistler asked Montesquiou to send the 'petit ruban rouge, fixé à son bouton, tout prêt à mettre à la boutonnière - le petit ruban le plus fin, le plus coquet qui existe! - ' (see #03010). Montesquiou complied, and told the Countess, who sent Whistler the red ribbon she had embroidered for him to celebrate the award.

6.  [butterfly signature]
The butterfly is puffed up with pride and wearing the red ribbon.