The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 03607
Date: [20 January 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: St Ives
Recipient: Ernest George Brown[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 9/16
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr Brown -

It is all right about 'Arry[3] -

The body is in the bag - only we were late this week - look out for next and get the World -

Also you may tell Mr Palmer[4] - but I would not say much about it until Sunday or Monday -

[p. 2] I am staying here longer than I expected to - the sea to me, is, and always was, most fascinating! -

Perhaps you will think that there is a novelty about the little things[5] I bring back -

I shall show them to you with pleasure -

They tell me that Volkow[6] sent you a lot of large[7] watercolors from Venice[8] - I suppose they look like H—l and sell well - thereby combining virtue with business -

If there be any more cuttings from Spectator[9] about this affair - or indeed any thing about 'Arry mind you send them to me -

In this particular case you may flatter yourself that the next butterfly in the World is entirely owing to your vigilance! -

Yours truly -

J McN. Whistler

14. Barnoon Terrace
St Ives   Cornwall -

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1.  [20 January 1884]
Dated by address.

2.  Ernest George Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more]. There are several later copies of this letter (#02772, #03088, #01165).

3.  'Arry
Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more]. It may be that Brown pointed out Quilter's article when visiting JW in St Ives, about 16/19 January 1884. Quilter had confused a drawing with an etching in his discussion of Samuel Palmer's illustrations to Virgil's Eclogues, as JW was happy to point out (Spectator, 15 December 1883; World, 26 December 1883, 2 January 1884, 30 January 1884 (#11399); published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, pp. 113-14; Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.25). See also #09420 and #03608.

4.  Mr Palmer
For this to be a reference to Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), painter, draughtsman and etcher [more], it is necessary to suppose that JW did not realise that he had died three years earlier.

5.  little things
In St Ives JW made many small scale paintings including Sunrise; gold and grey (M.917), exploring new techniques and subjects (see YMSM 263-288; M.915-921).

6.  Volkow
Alexandre Nicolaievitch Roussoff or Volkoff-Muromsoff (1844-1928), genre and landscape painter, watercolourist [more].

7.  large
Double underlined.

8.  watercolors from Venice
Some of Roussoff's watercolours of Venice are quite close to JW's in format and style, e.g. A. N. Roussoff, Venetian backwaters (z193), 1888. There are six watercolours, each 248 x 115mm, in an auction catalogue, Sotheby, London, 24 November 1983 (lot 78).

9.  Spectator
Spectator, 15 December 1883; (see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.25; #11399).