System Number: 05231
Date: 29 November 1878
Author: James Anderson Rose
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R129
Document Type: ALS
11 Salisbury St Strand
29 Novr. 1878
[harp insignia, with motto:] 'CONSTANT AND TRUE'
My dear Whistler
The so called Fine Art Society advertises today in all the papers for a subscription to pay Ruskins costs. The so called fine Art Society, is a shop in Bond Street, smaller than the shops of Graves Colnaghi McLean or Tooths; but unlike these respectable printsellers, who trade so as to be liable [p. 2] to pay their debts, the so called Fine Art Society, which is simply an ordinary printsellers shop, trades as a "limited" Company; which means that if printselling turns out a bad speculation, the so called Fine Art Society is not liable to pay its debts.
In truth this printsellers shop is the place where Ruskin exhibits his Turners and his own works.
[p. 3] I have received your letter and will answer it some time today but I have an arrear of business to pull up
J. Anderson Rose
J A M Whistler Esq
The White House
2. Ruskins costs
A reference to JW's libel case against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. Ruskin had just lost the case to JW although JW was only awarded token damages of one farthing. See newspaper extract, #11688, for the Fine Art Society's appeal to pay Ruskin's costs. The case was in response to Ruskin's criticism of JW's works, especially Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170), in his periodical Fors Clavigera. On 2 July 1877 he accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of the I Summer Exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213. The trial took place at the Queen's Bench of the High Court over two days on 25-26 November 1878.
3. Graves Colnaghi McLean or Tooths
The printsellers Henry Graves & Co. and P. & D. Colnaghi were at Pall Mall. The firms of Thomas McLean and Arthur Tooth & Sons were at Haymarket, S.W.
Ruskin was a dedicated admirer of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), painter [more]. In the spring of 1878, watercolours from his collection including Goldau were shown at the Fine Art Society in the exhibition Mr Ruskin's Collection of Turner Drawings.