The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02364
Date: [15 August 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Alexander Ionides[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler I104
Document Type: ALd[3]


Madame Whistler[5]
110 rue du Bac
E. V.

[p. 2] Aleco[6] -

As I always like every one to know what I am obliged to say of them I do not choose to say of any one what I would not say to him, I copy what I wrote, as far as you are concerned, to Mr. Thomson[7] of Goupils - à propos of the sale of my portrait[8] the other day -

"I have you know my own feeling about these purchases -

That Mr. Ionides should ask £700 for the work for which he gave me £50 fifty is monstrous shamelessness - and you can tell him so from me - What right has he or any of these others to make one penny out of my brain and my battle!" -

Out of softness of heart I let you off a while ago - and tried to help you in the sale of Your Tanagras[9] - But it is intolerable that you should all of you in England should under my [p. 1] nose, in this sly way - turn these pictures of mine over & over again, & without a word to me pocket sums that properly you should offer to me on your bended knees saying behold at least what the price we ought to have paid for these works which we are at last able to pay you for these valuable works to obtain for these valuable works we have had the privilege of living with all these years for eighteen pence! -

Gerald Potter[10] sold my Blue Wave[11] for £1000 - he gave me £50 for it - The Little White Girl[12] & a Nocturne[13], he sold for £1200 in a lump -

He gave me £150 I think - or less - for the first & the usual £30 or 40 for the other! - A small gray Chelsea[14] for which he gave me probably £20 he sold for two or three hundred - or more - So that roughly speaking he has deliberately made a matter of of £2150!!! out of my pluck my determination my fight with his d—d countrymans jealousy, and the honours acheived in other lands! -

Mr Leathardt[15] sold for £600 or £800 [from?] what he paid me eighty pounds -

John Cavafy[16] sold not only what his Father[17] had bought but my own gift[18] to himself! The little picture of the fishing boats[19] that you sold for 200 down, you gave me twenty for - the Battersea Bridge[20] I dont know at the moment whether you got 500 or [800?]. You gave me the old[21] £30 for it - An that makes you a matter of £1400. to your own check -

Pretty devilish well you have all done with these [illegible] cheap excentricities of mine -

 50 - 1000
150 - 1000
 30 -  200
 20 -  200
250 - 2400
 700 -  50
 600  30
1500 100


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1.  [15 August 1895]
Dated from a letter containing similar references, written to D. C. Thomson, 15 August [1895], #08306.

2.  Alexander Ionides
Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more].

3.  ALd
This document is an envelope, addressed in an unknown hand to Beatrix Whistler, and written over by JW.

This address is printed at the top left corner of the envelope, and has been written across by JW.

5.  Madame Whistler
This address is the one to which the envelope had been originally sent, prior to JW's writing upon it.

6.  Aleco
The text of the letter begins on the verso of the envelope '[p. 2]', and is continued later on p. 1 and also the envelope flap.

7.  Mr. Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

8.  my portrait
Arrangement in Grey: Portrait of the Painter (YMSM 122).

9.  Tanagras
An album of photographs of the tanagra figurines in the Ionides' collection was used by JW in an attempt to help sell them in 1894 (see Sketch after a Greek terracotta figure (M.1419)).

10.  Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more].

11.  Blue Wave
Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41).

12.  Little White Girl
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52).

13.  Nocturne
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115).

14.  Chelsea
Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf (YMSM 54).

15.  Mr Leathardt
James Leathart (1820-1895), collector [more], had owned Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks (YMSM 47).

16.  John Cavafy
Dr John Cavafy (ca 1839-1901), physician and collector, son of G. J. Cavafy [more]. He had owned Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56) and several other paintings.

17.  gift
Double underlined. Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64) was the painting involved.

18.  fishing boats
Green and Grey: The Oyster Smacks, Evening (YMSM 99).

19.  Father
George John Cavafy (1805-1891), merchant, partner in G. J. Cavafy and Company [more].

20.  Battersea Bridge
Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33).

21.  the old
The sum was written first on the flap, and the text of the letter continues, written around the sum, and at right angles to the main text and the second sum.