The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06022
Date: [22/29 January 1891?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Edward Arthur Walton[2]
Place: [Glasgow]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W19
Document Type: ALfd


Dear Sir -

The Carlyle[4] Portrait was exhibited in 1884 - in Edinburgh[5] - and might at that moment have been acquired for 400. Guineas! -

There was however much discussion and hesitation - I was asked to allow the picture to remain after the closing of the Exhibition - This I willingly acceeded [sic] to - and the haggling and wrangling went on - In the midst of it all there appeared letters in the Scotch papers[6], in one of which the purchase was urged upon the people, upon the principle that it was the portrait of a most distinguished Scotchman - that the picture was a good one - its quality had been acknowledged abroad - where it had been treated with respect - having been hung in a [p. 2] place of honour in the Salon[7] - and especially calling attention to the fact that by buying the picture the committee in no way pledged themselves to a sympathy with Mr Whistler's work generally - that they did not thereby commit themselves to the approval of his excentricities [sic], shortcomings and evil ways generally! - but that this one picture was good! - Upon reading this marvelous resumé of their reasons - this amazingly frank confession of Philistine cunning and discretion, I immediately sent a telegram[8] to Edinburgh, saying that the price of the Carlyle was a thousand guineas - and have ever since been grateful to their outspoken antagonism -

This is history - and now that more years of experience have gone by, the value of these excentric [sic] works has not decreased and the price of the Carlyle today is twelve hundred guineas. -

This fact however you can convey in its simplest form to the Gentlemen of the Committee and reserve for yourself & your friends the story that I daresay you had before now heard from our mutual friend Mr Walker[9] - I must thank you again for the interest you show in [...][10]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [22/29 January 1891?]
This is probably the draft of a reply to E. A. Walton's letter of 21 Jauary 1891, #06017.

2.  Edward Arthur Walton
Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922), painter [more].

3.  21, CHEYNE WALK,
Printed address in orange ink.

4.  Carlyle
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). It was bought by Glasgow Corporation in 1891 for 1,000 guineas.

5.  Edinburgh
Loan Exhibition, Scottish National Portraits, Board of Manufactures, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1884.

6.  Scotch papers
Not identified.

7.  Salon
102nd exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1884.

8.  telegram
Not located.

9.  Mr Walker
Robert Walker (ca 1841 - d.1900), Secretary of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts [more].

10.  [...]
Only one sheet of this letter survives.