THE WHITE HOUSE,
Now my dear Luke
I am going to call on you to execute yourself - that is if you dont think it vexing in one. Enclosed I send you a letter from Lord Archibald Campbell - and the little Nocturne I have thought of in consequence - and am emboldened to ask you for it because of your kind proposal to sell it for me yourself - and making it a condition that if you succeeded I was to take the difference between [what] you had yourself paid for it and whatever sum it might bring.
If you are of the same mind will you let John bring back the picture with him - and if Mrs Fitzgerald takes a fancy to it, I return you the £15 you so kindly let me have for it in my great strait - if nothing further takes place, the picture shall be restored to your walls forthwith.
I need not dwell upon the strangled state of "the Show" just now. This you can pretty well imagine after all the time taken from my work by late campaigning!
Ever affectly Yours
J. A. McN. WHISTLER.
Dicd. 'Dec 5. 1878 (see Calendar).'
Possibly Nocturne in Grey and Gold (YMSM 155) or Nocturne: Grey and Silver (YMSM 156). Ionides seems to have purchased Nocturne in Grey and Gold (YMSM 155) on 5 November 1878 (JW to A. Graves, #10913). Alternatively, it may have been Nocturne in Blue and Gold (YMSM 154), or another of the three Nocturnes exhibited by JW at the 2nd Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1878.
This word added by hand.
8. Mrs Fitzgerald
Mrs Fitzgerald, patron.
A reference to the precarious circumstances of JW's professional life rather than to a specific exhibition. He had recently won his libel case against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more], but without financial recompense.
10. 'Dec 5. 1878 (see Calendar).'
These words were added later by hand.