The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 03600
Date: [26/29 January 1880][1]
Author: JW
Place: Venice
Recipient: Ernest George Brown[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler LB 9/1[3]
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr Brown -

I forgot in my letter to Mr Huish[4] to say that you might well send me some pieces of old Dutch paper[5] for in Venice nothing can be had of any kind - You might see to this yourself for me as you know what I like - Where to look for it I can't exactly tell you - but perhaps Goulding[6] may have some - You ought to send me about 20 or 30 pieces - rolled up properly and sent by post would be the way - Mr Way[7] has sent me some Japanese[8] paper and it arrived quite safely and in good condition - he had rolled it in a large Christmas number of the World[9] - indeed he tells me that he has thought out some other safe method - so you might consult with him - for it would be a great pity if anything were to happen to what [p. 2] I value so much. Try and get me some of the tone and size of that on which the Putney Bridge[10] was printed -

The printing business itself is very primitive and difficult here and on another pilgrimage of the kind I should certainly bring out my own press[11] -

Also pop a couple of little balls of varnish - ("etching ground[12]" the proper name - and you get them at Hughes & Kimber[13], West Harding Street, Chancery Lane) into a little pasteboard box and send it by Post -

While you are about it send 3 and a small bottle of "Stopping Out varnish[14]". Quite a small one will do, for I still have some - you had better put it in a little flat one that will pack nicely - and then put it in a neat little wooden box which would be safer - and send by Post

Always address Café Florian[15]
[p. 3] Place St.Marc -

If you think of any little news don't think that it will be uninteresting so pray write me anything you can remember in the way of "Etching and Etchers" -

Very truly yours,

J A McN. Whistler

Please lose no time about the varnish and paper -

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1.  [26/29 January 1880]
Written after JW's letter to M. B. Huish (#02992). Brown's reply is dated 31 January (#01107).

2.  Ernest George Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more].

3.  GUL LB 9/1
The original letter was bound into a letter-book, probably by the recipient, Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more]. There were several copies of the original: manuscripts by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more] (#03069), and typescript copies (#01106, #02712).

4.  letter to Mr. Huish
JW's letter to Marcus Bourne Huish (1843 - d.1921), barrister, writer and art dealer, Director of the Fine Art Society [more] (#02992) was written in reply to Huish's letter dated 14 January 1880 (#01105).

5.  old Dutch paper
JW liked to print on old Dutch paper, which was made without chemicals, and had a better colour and texture than contemporary papers.

6.  Goulding
Frederick Goulding (1842-1909), printer and print-maker [more].

7.  Mr Way
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

8.  Japanese paper
JW's proofs were generally made on heavy off-white wove paper, but later impressions were on a variety of laid and japanese papers.

9.  World
London society journal.

10.  Putney Bridge
Old Putney Bridge (K.178) was published by the Fine Art Society in 1879.

11.  press
JW is said to have used printing presses owned by a local printer and by the American artists August Friedrich Reinhardt (1831-1915), artist [more], and Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), book illustrator and etcher [more], at different times (see r.: Seven sketches of heads; v.: Chart (M.781)).

12.  Hughes and Kimber
Hughes and Kimber were a London-based firm noted for the quality of their copper plates. Many of JW's plates bear their stamp, including several of the surviving plates in the Art Institute of Chicago and Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

13.  etching ground
The copper plate was prepared with a thin acid resistant ground.

14.  Stopping out varnish
Lines etched sufficiently deep were varnished to protect them from the acid.

15.  Café Florian
JW was a regular patron of the famous Café Florian on the Piazza San Marco. At this time he was staying to the east of the Grand Canal, near the Frari.