The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06105
Date: 30 November 1893
Author: Thomas Robert Way[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W102
Document Type: ALS[2]


Novr 30 1893

My dear Mr Whistler

You will doubtless have received my rash communication of last evening, and I must apologize for not having waited until I got definite instructions on the subject of the alteration. Still my present letter must needs be much on the same lines, and for the following reasons[3]. You ask us to make a transfer on to a stone prepared for wash - Such stones are grained and it is only possible to transfer the strongest and coarsest work to a grained stone, with this drawing [p. 2] you would get a few of the darkest lines, broken, and some few patches of tone where the stump is strongest the rest would not appear at all - But let us suppose that this is done, and that there is a fairly satisfactory result on the stone - you then add your wash - It must then be etched or the wash will roll up solid all over. But the etching that will keep the proper gradations in the wash, will quite clear away work that has been transferred, and which has no strength to stand anything but the most tender treatment. But if you really must modify this drawing, may I suggest that you do it with a second printing? I can send you some grained [p. 3] Transparent transfer paper, which you can lay over an impression and make your drawing on - we can then fit it to its place and print it in black so that you would get your effect quite satisfactorily without risking the original drawing in any way - Of course we will avail ourselves of the method[4] you suggest of sending you the stones, and you can perhaps contrive to send them back in charge of friends who may be crossing.

If you will let me know what course you would like to adopt in this drawing, I will send you the materials and the drawing you sent by return, but please say if I shall make the little erasures on the original stone from this copy before returning it to you -

Oh! if one only lived near at hand to explain in a few minutes all these "whys & wherefores"!

with kindest regards from my father[5] & self.
yours very sincerely

Tom. R. Way.

J. McN. Whistler Esqr

P. S. Nothing from M. Marty[6] again this morning!

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1.  Thomas Robert Way
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), printer, lithographer and painter [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 78, no. 64.

3.  reasons
Way objected to JW's proposed alterations to Nude Model, Reclining (C.73). JW had considerable difficulties with lithotint in October and November 1893. Explaining the nuances of different technical effects through written correspondence was difficult at best. Way's reluctance to divulge details of his lithographic process complicated communications with JW. T. R. Way believed that an involvement in the practical aspects of processing and printing lithographs would have resulted in many disappointments for JW and would have distracted him from his work as a painter; see Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, pp. 102-04; and Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, no. 64, p. 78.

4.  method
JW wanted to use this same procedure on four of his Lyme Regis prints in 1895.

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

6.  M. Marty
André E. Marty (b. 1857), journalist, illustrator and print publisher [more].