The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05979
Date: [14/18 August 1887?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Queen Victoria[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler V68
Document Type: ALS[3]

The Queen's most excellent Majesty


By Your Majesty's signal kindness, and condescension, in the matter of a Memorial, submitted by me, in behalf of the Society of British Artists, now, by Your Majesty's Sovereign will and pleasure, signified through me to them, become the Royal Society of British Artists[4], I am encouraged to hope that Your Majesty will graciously deign to accept, as an expression of loyal reverence, and respect, a Portfolio of Etchings[5], in which I have attempted to recall some salient features of the memorable and magnificent Review[6] held by Your Majesty, of Your Fleet, assembled at Spithead, on the 23rd day of July, 1887, in honour of Your Majesty's glorious Year of Jubilee -

To have looked upon that august and stately scene will be cherished as an inspiring privilege in the lifelong recollection of thousands of Your Majesty's loyal and devoted subjects -

To be permitted, by Your Majesty's approbation, to believe that I have not entirely failed in my efforts to convey to those who may not share this privelege [sic], some sense and perception of the splendour and grandeur of this historical event, is the most fervent wish and hope, Madam, of

Your Majesty's
Most obedient humble servant

James McNeill Whistler -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [14/18 August 1887?]
Dated by sequence of letters after Godfrey Lushington (1832-1907), lawyer, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office from 1885-1895 [more], informed JW on 9 August 1887 (#01840) that the SBA had been granted the title of 'Royal' (RBA). See also three other copies or drafts (#05976, #05977, #05978).

2.  Queen Victoria
Victoria (1819-1901), Queen of Great Britain [more].

3.  ALS
This may be a copy retained by JW; published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 38, pp. 108-09.

4.  Royal Society of British Artists
JW described to the Pennells the SBA meeting, 'I announced the honour conferred upon them by Her Gracious Majesty, and they jumped up and they rushed towards me with outstretched hands... the meeting over, then I sent for champagne' (Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 66-67).

5.  Portfolio of Etchings
'Naval Review set', 1887 (K. 316-331) (excat 7). The set for Queen Victoria was specially mounted, and encased in a yellow morocco album, with a monogram designed by JW (see Sketchbook (M.1145)).

6.  review
On 27 July 1887 JW, as President of the then SBA, attended the Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead.