The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02878
Date: [1/8 April 1881?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Committee of the Painter-Etchers' Society[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 12/53
Document Type: PLc[3]

I refer you, Gentlemen, to my letter of March 29th, which Mr Haden[4] has never been able to answer - and merely point out that the "blundering assistant" was the only one who did not blunder at all - since he alone refrained from folly, and, notwithstanding all exhortation, steadily refused, in the presence of cunning connoisseurs, to mistake the work of one man[5] for that of another.

I have, Gentlemen, the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,

J. A. McN. Whistler.

To the Committee of the Painter-Etchers' Society.
May I, without impertinence, ask what really does constitute the "Painter-Etcher" - "all round," as Piker[6] has it? - for, of these three gentlemen who have so markedly distinguished themselves, in that character, two certainly are not painters - and one doesn't etch!

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1.  [1/8 April 1881?]
Dated from reference to a letter from JW to F. S. Haden, 29 March [1881], #13147. See also correspondence between M. B. Huish and F. S. Haden, #01131, #01944; JW to Painter-Etcher's Society, #11632, #13151.

2.  Committee of the Painter-Etchers' Society
The Committee included Francis Seymour Haden (President), Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], and Sir William Drake (1817-1890), Secretary of the Society of Painter-Etchers [more].

3.  PLc
Published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881.

4.  Mr Haden
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. This relates to an incident between JW and the newly formed Painter-Etchers' Society. In the spring of 1881, the Society held an exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. However, when Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], submitted three Venice etchings, Haden (who was President of the Society) suspected that they were in fact by JW. Anxious to compare the etchings with those that JW had been printing for the Fine Art Society, Haden, Alphonse Legros and Dr Edward Hamilton (1815 or 1816-1903), doctor of medicine and print collector [more], paid a visit to the Society's gallery. JW was indignant when he heard of the visit, regarding it as an attack on his artistic integrity. A lengthy correspondence ensued that was eventually published by JW in Piker Papers (op. cit.).

5.  work of one man
Etchings such as F. Duveneck, The Riva, No. 2 and The Laguna or View of Shipping from the Riva are in fact close in composition and title to etchings by JW such as The Riva, No.1 (K.192) (see MacDonald, Margaret F., Palaces in the Night Whistler in Venice, Aldershot, 2001, pp. 70, 96).

6.  Piker
William Pike ('Piker') of 1 Hertford Street, Mayfair.