The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05827
Date: 2 November 1895
Author: David Croal Thomson[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Lyme Regis]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T172
Document Type: ALS

[royal coat of arms]


Nov. 2d 1895

Dear Mr Whistler,

I arrived in London all right & delivered your letter & the roll carefully as requested & trust it was all right.

Nothing having appeared in the Pall Mall I am sending the letter to the Globe[2] where we may expect it next Wednesday

[p. 2] I had an exhilarating drive to Axminster & I had time to explore the church. Oddly enough I saw a tombstone to a daughter of Sir John Eden[3] of Durham evidently a near relative of the doughty Sir William[4]. Another slab was to a man Steer[5] so I felt quite at home in the old church.

I heartily enjoyed the excursion to Lyme & I wish to thank you for your very kind & generous hospitality which greatly gratified me.

[p. 3] The artistic treat of seeing the Royalties of Lyme Regis was one never to be forgotten. The Master Smith, The Rose[6], The Infanta & the other princess are indelibly impressed on my memory & I cannot too warmly speak of their gorgeous colour, their exquisite style & harmony.

Then the Shops of Lyme Regis[,] the Barbers, the Sweet Shop[,] the Drapers[7] & the other delicacies. The delightfully quaint composition, the splendid drawing & the subtle colour & tone.

The exhibition which you have decided for March[8] will make an epoch in Art & in the records of the Goupil Gallery. It will be a veritable triumph & we shall all join in the glory of it I hope, my place far away from the master perhaps but within call & able to see what it all means!

I believe you are half converted to Luke Fildes[9] yourself. I wish a certain painter would let himself be presented to the public who want to learn & know not how to be taught.

Please present my greatest compliments to Mr Studd[10].

Believe me
Ever sincerely

D. C. Thomson

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1.  David Croal Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

2.  Globe
On 7 November JW complained that he was 'disgusted' with the Globe for not printing his letter (#08385).

3.  Sir John Eden
The Eden family, baronets of West Auckland (created 1672) held estates in County Durham, mainly to the south-east of Bishop Auckland. The reference may be to Sir John Eden (1740-1812), 4th Bt; his eldest daughter, Dorothy, married John Methold, Esq.

4.  Sir William
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more].

5.  Steer
Thomson is perhaps reminded of the name of Philip Wilson Steer (1860-1942), painter [more].

6.  The Master Smith, The Rose
The Master Smith of Lyme Regis (YMSM 450) and The Little Rose of Lyme Regis (YMSM 449), which were sold through E. G. Kennedy to Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1896. Other portraits included Rose and Gold: 'Pretty Nellie Brown' (YMSM 451).

7.  Barbers, the Sweet Shop[,] the Drapers
Buildings painted by JW in Lyme Regis included Rose and Red: The Barber's Shop, Lyme Regis (YMSM 444), and A Shop (YMSM 448). He had earlier painted similar subjects, Blue and Orange: Sweet Shop (YMSM 263) and Carlyle's Sweetstuff Shop (YMSM 375). However no 'Drapes' or 'Sweet Shop' from Lyme Regis survives.

8.  March
The exhibition did not take place, owing to the critical illness of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

9.  Luke Fildes
Samuel Luke Fildes (1844-1927), genre and portrait painter [more].

10.  Mr Studd
Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more].