UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 02440
Date: [24 March 1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Miss Köhler[2]
Place: [Anvers]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler K23
Document Type: ALd


21, CHEYNE WALK[3],
CHELSEA.

Dear Miss Köhler -

It was most nice and amiable of you to write me such a delightful account of the winding up of the Ford[4] [conspir?] affaire Ford, and the flight of the family over the frontier! -

Your letter is charming and capital! and most entertaining and bright in its descrip most graphic
I have read it with great effect to

[p. 2][5] We have at length today seen the proof Pirated printed book itself of the collected writings of Mr Whistler which has p - whose production publication has proved so fatally disastrous comically impossible to the its persistently unfortunate to the speclu sp

There is a strange poetic droll justice in the dist fact that the upshot of the untiring efforts of the speculator in this venture should be to place in the hands of Mr Whistler alone, the work, which to judge from a cursory glance at its contents was to have done most evily [sic] meant - and that he intended as a most evil surprise -

The style of the preface and [p. 3] [endi?] accessory comments, is of the very most vulgar worst form of western Editorship, while the dangerous disastrous effect of Mr Whistler's pointed pen upon what he would call the middle classes, literature upon the one who has burnt his fingers with it. is amusingly shown in the preposterous aping of his light [illegible] persiflage - with a resulting catastrophe Catastrophe such as only the most miraculous conceit is the resul could be blind to is the result -

As an example we offer the following extract:

We abstain from giving an opinion upon what is libellous or dishonest in the venture, as Mr Whistler will doubtless have recourse to the in Belgium the matter before the Tribunal correctional - but we see with astoni unfeigned astonishment that the work is dedicated to Mr John McClure Hamilton[6] a painter - and considering the malignant intention towards his distinguished confrère we can scarcely congratulate him upon his sponsorship -

[p. 4][7] I have just seen the book itself of whose thwarted publication so much has been said - The unfortunate compiler person who had concieved [sic] the project of benefiting by the picturesque indiference [sic] of Mr Whistler our James to business, by the publication, for his own financial profit, of Mr Whistlers Butterfly litterature [sic] hads certainly had a bad time of it, as everybody knows might could have told him would inevitably be the case! Hunted from one country to another and always ridiculous, he has finally been swept up in Belgium, and his baggage, in the shape of the forbidden works carried off to the tune of 2000 vols.

Not the least enjoyable part of this brilliant raid raid upon the Pirate, is the revelation of his intended malevolence, as well as robery [sic] - and the situation is complete in the fact that for Mr Whistler's amusement alone, has the amusement of [render?] possession has all this trouble and ex taken - and this when necessary has the and in order to provide him with has his enemy been at all this expense, and taken all this trouble -

The book I notice was dedicated "to John McClure Hamilton" - a painter! - and I certainly do not envy him his position -

Beyond this there is nothing notable in the volume, except perhaps the abominable tone [dowdy art?] of its Editorship, with headlines and other noisy abominations means of attraction which would seem to indicate the YankeeWestern origin of the speculator unlucky dabler [sic] in nefarious [Hoosier?] delitantism [sic] - its unlucky compiler -


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

1.  [24 March 1890]
This is a draft of a letter so dated, #13811.

2.  Miss Köhler
Mlle Kohler, daughter of G. Kohler, printer [more].

3.  21, CHEYNE WALK
Address printed in yellow.

4.  Ford
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more]. The book was Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.

5.  [p. 2]
The rest of the text, although clearly on the same subject, appears to have been written to someone unknown.

6.  John McClure Hamilton
John McClure Hamilton (1853-1936), artist [more].

7.  [p. 4]
The printed address header appears at the foot of this page as it does on p. 1.