The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06095
Date: 9 April 1892
Author: Thomas Robert Way[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W92
Document Type: ALS


Apl. 9 1892

My dear Mr Whistler,

I must begin by congratulating you, not only for myself, but for Henry[2] and I know for my father[3], on the most magnificent success which your exhibition[4] has proved. Truly! you have had many years of bad usage to live through before it has come, but the success is absolute complete and final. I venture to prophisy that it will not take 10 years after you have left us, to find you represented at Trafalgar Square[5] - and it is my hope that that event may be brought [p. 2] about whilst you are still with us. Your Catalogue has turned out a financial success too - which is extra satisfactory to us.

You did not quite understand my last notes, about the liths of "the mothers[6] portrait". I dont think it necessary for you to trouble about signing them yourself - I have used the little butterfly stamp, and it looks extremely well; as though you had drawn it with a soft lead pencil. So long as you do not repudiate them, it will be all right. I touch each impression before signing, and have before me the proof you worked on yourself. They are not going [p. 3] very fast however. The fine photo you have in the Exhibition is selling and taking the wind out of my sails for the moment -

I have just sent some sheets of our transfer paper to Mons Fantin[7] - for Mr Wilkin[8], as I understand you have told him we cannot lay down the French paper. Now I want you to be kind enough to send me a few little pieces of the paper to experiment on myself. Its a different thing, you know, experimenting on one's own rubbish and risking spoiling such drawings as you have brough[t] us. I am determined to succeed with this colour[9] printing.

With kindest regards to Mrs Whistler[10] & yourself
I remain
yours very Sincerely

Tom. R. Way -

J. McN. Whistler Esqre.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Thomas Robert Way
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), printer, lithographer and painter [more]. Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, no. 33, pp. 52-53.

2.  Henry
Henry E. Morgan (b. ca 1851), employee of Thomas Way, lithographic printer [more].

3.  father
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

4.  exhibition
Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892, see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 121-25.

5.  Trafalgar Square
Thirteen years after JW's triumph in 1892, the National Gallery acquired the artist's Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140). That same year the painting was transferred to the Tate Gallery. In subsequent years many other important works, including Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129), Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103), were given to the National Gallery by their owners and later transferred to the Tate Gallery.

6.  mothers
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101).

7.  Mons Fantin
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more]. T. R. Way sent some of the grained German transfer paper (papier viennois) to Fantin-Latour, who was to contribute an original lithograph to The Albemarle; W. H. Wilkins and Hubert Crackanthorpe were editors of the periodical. Fantin-Latour's lithograph A Portrait appeared in the June issue. JW visited the French artist in Paris, where he had learned about a different kind of transfer paper. He wrote to Beatrix in London: 'I have bought nearly three pounds worth of the most wonderful transparent lithograph paper! such as old Way never dreamed of! and such as I suppose I should never have seen in London'; #06594. Way received some of this paper in May 1892, as requested, with the promise of further information, but he was still waiting for instructions from JW on how to transfer it to the stone as late as September 1892, #06096. Nevertheless, Way made several experiments using grained transfer paper and the smooth French transfer paper, both in black and white and in color, and sent these to JW in Paris. JW probably used a similar transparent transfer paper for Stéphane Mallarmé (C.60) in November 1892 and for his lithographs of 1894 in Paris.

8.  Mr Wilkin
William Henry Wilkins (1860-1905), publisher of The Albemarle [more].

9.  colour
JW's first experiment in color lithography was made with Thomas Way in November 1890, when he produced Figure Study in Colors (C.39); (see Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, pp. 90-91; Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998 Apps. II.3, II.4, entries for 27 November 1890). In November 1892, T. R. Way sent the results of his own experiments, in which he had reproduced some of the artist's pastel drawings, #06097.

10.  Mrs Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].