UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05010
Date: [21 February 1894?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: John Gerald Potter[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P650
Document Type: ALd


Hurrah Potter! - Well done Potter! -

That's a clear sweep of twelve hundred isn't it - or was it a little more? -

Was it £150 - you gave me for The Little White Girl[3]? - or a hundred? and what was the bargain you made of The Nocturne[4]? did you at last get it for £50 - or 30? - I must look up the matter and see - for this is really history - and must be written -

Amazing Beautiful this combination of Patron & picture dealer! -

The Emperor[5] was not far out when in his classification of the Country - was he! - Amazing! - Also it reflects great [p. 2] credit upon your commercial grasp - or instinct - or what not, when one considers that these works which the people were forbidden to buy from me[6], by Mr Ruskin[7], Sir Edward B. Jones[8], & the Attorney of England[9] - you in the guise of Protector of Art acquired for courageously & boldly persistantly hawk about the country whole place and sell for thousands! - And you are not the only one - Oh dear no! there is a pretty list - I have you all entered - who sSince the since the guarantee foreign Hall mark was set upon these forbidden paintings excentricities, you have lost lost no time from any foolish delicacy to the decency during the life time of the painter but at once turned to and made ten & twenty the money their pile out of his labour - his hard fought battle - his honours ... acquired out of their country land! - Most of these Art Protectors too refused to pay the couple of pounds or so for the cleaning and vanishing of these their wares under the care & supervision of the painter, who in this way added immensely to their market value - & enabled them to say as an inducement to the buyer that they are now in perfect condition, Mr Whistler himself having seen to their toilette - and then left him to settle the bill! - You yourself my dear Patron, friend & speculator whose pictures came to the exhibition which was really your market, in sad need of care, threw the one or two frames[10] in which they looked their best upon my hands! and Bless you - and [scarcely?] cheaply shoved the beautiful "Blue wave[11]" for which you expect another thousand doubtless, back into the cheap mean old abomination of years ago - The "little White Girl", for a modest sum - still many times what the price paid me might perhaps have found a resting place with honour to both of us my [illegible] excuse, to yourself, in The Royal Galleries of Münich - But - No you knew a trick worth two of that! - and business is business, and law is law - (possession is certainly nine tenths of it - & each Englishmans home is his own country house - and so well done Potter! -

The thought of it all puts one in the good humour of the im[m]ortal Micawber[12], and with him I could sing Gee up Potter, Gee ho Potter Gee up & Gee ho!


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Notes:

1.  [21 February 1894?]
Dated from a similar undated draft, #13346, and a related letter to Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more], 4 February 1894, #09715.

2.  John Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more].

3.  The Little White Girl
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115), were bought by Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more], in 1893 for £1400 (see #09715, #02674, #02671, #05610).

4.  The Nocturne
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115).

5.  Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), Emperor of France [more] described Britain as 'A nation of shopkeepers'.

6.  me
Double underlined.

7.  Mr Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. A reference to testimony in the Whistler v. Ruskin libel trial of 1878.

8.  Sir Edward B. Jones
Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898), painter and designer [more].

9.  Attorney of England
Sir John Holker (1828-1882), Attorney General, counsel for John Ruskin [more].

10.  frames
'frames ... gee ho!' written in the left and top margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

11.  Blue wave
Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41).

12.  Micawber
A character in David Copperfield (1849-50) by Charles Dickens.