UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02635
Date: [March 1885/1888?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Princess Louise[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L169
Document Type: ALdS[3]


Madam -

I feel it incumbent upon myself, as your Painter, by devotion, if not by Office, to right myself, if it be possible, in the eyes of my Royal Mistress -

You may have forgotten a light suggestion of general fog in the methods of the one, who, if indifferent, absolutely, to the opinion of all others, has the ambition to be seriously considered by the Artist Princess whose high [p. 2] opinion he has made it his duty to acquire -

It saddens him to think that you, who have been so often most gracious and indulgent in your protection, should at all accept the popular belief of meretricious & willful excentricity [sic] in the work of the Painter you have been so kind to. -

May I venture to offer Your Royal Highness, as a tribute of devotion & gratitude, a favorite picture[4] of my own, which has sucessfully [sic] resisted the danger of sale, on more than one occasion - and which I send herewith? -

In it, I would timidly hint, that, while I recognise Nature's masterly use of fairy fog - "When the evening mist[5] clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil" - I still do love to look at her, when she is beautiful without it -

I have the honour to be, Madam,
Your most obedient devoted Servant

J. McNeill Whistler

If, in my impulse, I may have been presumptious [sic], I entreat Your Royal Highness to forgive - & not to refuse my offering. -

[p. 3] 'To Princess Louise'[6]


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Notes:

1.  [March 1885/1888?]
Although two other letters from JW to Princess Louise appear to date from November 1878 (#03572, #03589), the quotation from JW's 'Ten o'clock Lecture' suggests a date after February 1885.

2.  Princess Louise
Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), Marchioness of Lorne, sculptress [more].

3.  ALdS
The final version of this letter has not been located.

4.  picture
Not identified.

5.  When the evening mist ... as with a veil
The best-known quotation from Whistler, James McNeill, Mr. Whistler's 'Ten O'Clock.', London, 1885.

6.  'To Princess Louise'
Written in the hand of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].