The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 04391
Date: 1 August [1891][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Edward Tyas Cook[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P30
Document Type: MsLcS[3]

"Whom" Mr Whistler had on his own toast[4]"

To. the Editor of the "Pall Mall Gazette"


My letter[5] should have met with no reply at all - it was a statement - authoritative and unanswerable, if there ever were one.

Because of the attention drawn to it, in the press, I felt called upon to advise the public that one of my own works[6] is condemned by myself.

Final this, one would fancy! -

That the accidental owners of the gallery[7] should introduce themselves to the situation, is of a most marked irrelevancy. They come in "comme un cheveu sur la soupe![8]" to be removed at once.

The dealers business is to buy and sell - and in the course of such traffic, these same busy picture bodies, without consulting me, put upon the market a painting that I, the author intended to efface - and, thanks to your courtesy, I have been enabled to say so effectually in your journal

All along have I carefully destroyed plates, torn up proofs, and burned canvases, that the truth of the word quoted shall prevail, and that the future collector shall be spared the mortification of cataloging his pet mistakes.

To destroy is to remain.

What[9] is commercial irritation beside a clean canvas! - what is a gentlemanly firm in Bond Street beside Eternity.

I am sir
Your Obed. Servt.

J McN. Whistler.


Aug. 1st.

'To / Sir Augustus Harris[10]?'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  1 August [1891]
Dated by publication (see below).

2.  Edward Tyas Cook
Sir Edward Tyas Cook (1857-1919), journalist, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1890-1892 [more], editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, 1890-1892.

3.  MsLcS
Published in the Pall Mall Gazette, 1 August 1891, #11431, and Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 291-92; also in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 45, pp. 124-25. This copy is possibly in the hand of William Bell, JW's secretary [more], but is signed by JW.

4.  Whom" Mr Whistler had on his own toast
Double underlined. An extra set of inverted commas has been inserted in this phrase.

5.  My letter
JW's letter of 27 July 1891, #07892.

6.  works
Pink and Grey: Three Figures (YMSM 89).

7.  gallery
C. W. or one of his sons, Charles and Walter Dowdeswell, of Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell, art dealers.

8.  comme un cheveu sur la soupe!
Fr., Like a hair in the soup!

9.  What...
New paragraph signified by ¶ sign in line and left margin.

10.  Sir Augustus Harris
Augustus Henry Glossop Harris (1852-1896), manager of Drury Lane Theatre [more]; written on reverse of sheet, in pencil, in another hand.