The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05231
Date: 29 November 1878
Author: James Anderson Rose[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: London
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[2]. The so called fine Art Society, is a shop in Bond Street, smaller than the shops of Graves Colnaghi McLean or Tooths[3]; 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[4] and his own works.

[p. 3] I have received your letter[5] and will answer it some time today but I have an arrear of business to pull up

Ever yours

J. Anderson Rose

J A M Whistler Esq
The White House

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

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.

4.  Turners
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.

5.  letter
Perhaps a reference to JW to J. A. Rose, #08749.