The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05119
Date: [January/February 1888][1]
Author: William George Rawlinson[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R19
Document Type: ALS

Sunday night


My dear Whistler

I am very glad to get your letter[3] at last

Let me at once hasten to remove your really amazing misapprehension - What should we "plain men" of the City value so much or esteem such an honour, as light, instruction & free criticism of [p. 2] our work, from a clear sighted & outspoken outsider? In these dark days such guidance would be too unspeakably precious!

And again, to think that until now I was blind to the value of your Venice Etchings[4]! "Is thy servant" & c? [p. 3] But I did I know venture to prefer a certain early printing to an altered, later one, and I am benighted enough to do so still, as I write with the firstnamed hanging on the wall opposite me! you see I am just praying for.

Now as to the picture[5], nothing can be fairer than your offer - I gave Howell[6] a hundred pounds or guineas [p. 4] for it, and I thought & still think (barring its unfortunate decay) it was cheap at the price - but I don't want the money back - I want another nocturne as near like it as may be - I could not hope or wish for anything finer. Yet again a difficulty comes in - Not hearing from you I took the [p. 5] picture, all in its sad plight, to Dyer[7] the renowned picture doctor in Orchard St., a week or more ago, and he has probably ere this done his best or his worst for it - Such is the position of affairs.

I am so sorry to have to write all this instead of coming to the Grosvenor[8] as [p. 6] you so kindly invite me, but we have had some people dining here tonight and they did not leave until too late for me to set out

Yours Sincerely

W. G. Rawlinson

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1.  [January/February 1888]
Dated from W. G. Rawlinson to JW, #05123.

2.  William George Rawlinson
William George Rawlinson (1840-1928), silk merchant, collector [more].

3.  your letter
JW to Rawlinson, 9/23 December 1887 (#05118).

4.  Venice Etchings
Etchings from JW's stay in Venice from 1879-80. They may have been from the published sets Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5) or A Set of twenty-six etchings of Venice, 1886 (the second 'Venice set') (K.196-216, 233-237). (excat 6).

5.  Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

6.  picture
Probably Nocturne (YMSM 114), or Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Battersea Reach (YMSM 119). Pennell mentions a 'small framed Nocturne' that was one of five paintings purchased from JW by Howell on 22 February 1878. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, Philadelphia, 1921, p. 69.

7.  Dyer
Probably William Dyer & Sons, picture restorers.

8.  Grosvenor
The Grosvenor Gallery, 137 New Bond Street, an important venue for avant garde art.