The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07006
Date: [1/14 February 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William McNeill Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W995
Document Type: ALS

33. Rue de Tournon -
Paris -


My dear Willie -

How are you all! -

I have been meaning to write every day of course, and every day naturally I have been in just one struggle - and never a moment for any thing - "With our usual indecision - Here we are again!" -

All the news about my self you have had - for I certainly hope you have seen in the papers the announcements of the "Officier de la Légion d'honneur[3]" - ! In any case I send cutting from Figaro - Trixie[4] and Bunnie[5] are here and if [p. 2] it were not for the hard work at my big portrait[6] and perhaps the cold weather, we should be having the most glorious time - for every body is determined to do us honour! - And after all those black and foolish years in London among the Pecksniffs and Podsnaps[7] with whom it is peopled, you can fancy the joyous change! - Amazing! Just think - To go and look at one's own picture hanging on the walls of the Luxembourg[8]! - remembering how it was treated in England - to be met every where with deference and treated with respect and vast consideration - to be covered with distinction (by the way I have just been promoted in the St. Michael[9] - with a new jewel sent!) - and to know that all this is gall & bitterness and a tremendous slap in the face to the Academy and the rest! Really it is like a dream! - a sort of fairy tale -

Well well I think do you know the Whistlers are bound to win - I am told that you are referred to and acknowledged after all as the highest authority on your own specialité in England - Delepine[10] said so only the other day - But it is a pity you have to stick in that dank London - However I really do suppose that the Mackensie[11] shuffling off will just be the turning point in your affairs - and now wealth and recognitions of all kinds will come to you - I want Nellie[12] to write at once to Julia Whistler[13] (I forget her other name) and say that I want her to lend me her picture of the "Music Room[14]" by me - I want it for this coming exhibition - and beg her to send[15] [it] to you in Wimpole Street - at once[16] as there is no time to be lost - Then afterwards I can tell you where to send it -

Love from all to you both -

[butterfly signature][17]

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1.  [1/14 February 1892]
Dated from reference to honours (see below)

2.  William McNeill Whistler
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

3.  Officier de la Légion d'honneur
JW had been made an Officier de la Légion d'honneur.

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

5.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

6.  portrait
JW was painting Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398) while staying at the Hôtel Foyot, rue de Tournon.

7.  Pecksniffs and Podsnaps
Seth Pecksniff, the snobbish, morally self-righteous character of Charles Dickens' novel Martin Chuzzlewit (1844); John Podsnap, the pompous self-satisfied character of Dickens' later novel Our Mutual Friend (1864).

8.  Luxembourg
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101), was purchased by the French Government. The picture entered the Musée du Luxembourg on 14 December 1891. When first submitted to the Royal Academy in 1872, it was nearly rejected.

9.  St. Michael
The order of St Michael of Bavaria, awarded as a result of JW's works at Kϋnstler-Genossenschaft, Munich, 1891.

10.  Delepine
P.- Ernest Delepine (fl. 1850-1890s), poet.

11.  Mackensie
Probably a misspelling of Dr Morell Mackenzie (1837-1892), surgeon, founder of the London Hospital for Diseases of the Throat [more].

12.  Nellie
Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917), née Ellen Ionides, JW's sister-in-law [more].

13.  Julia Whistler
Julia de Kay Revillon (1855-1930), née Whistler, JW's niece [more].

14.  Music Room
Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room (YMSM 34). It was at this point in St Petersburg, but was lent to JW's major retrospective, Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892 which opened on 19 March.

15.  send
Continued in left margin of p. 1.

16.  at once
Double underlined.

17.  [butterfly signature]
'to you ... [butterfly signature]' written at right-angles in left-hand margin on p. 1.