The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07121
Date: [18 December 1888][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Hodgson Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1111
Document Type: ALd

astute[3] -

At the risk of advertising the Australian gentleman of Fulham[5], who like the Kangaroo of his own country is born with a pocket and puts everything into it, I cannot help resist, in spite of much wise advice, noticing the article in last weeks Pall Mall[6] headed The House of Taste -

How it is that the Interviewer would have fallen a victim to such bare faced imposition elementary mystification, passes all usual [most?] explanation - but surely the smart reporter journalist who on a memorable occasion impressed me with exceeding wide aw[a]kedness sufficiently combined with haste to be trusted by the most sharpest of daily papers, must have been replaced by the novice of tomorrow! -

could not be the same who fell certainly piqued himself too much on his habit of things to be so out of it so promptly into the trap and carried off as a new

undertook the preaching of new doctrines at second hand! -

as not immediately to have recognised that he was surrounded by a sort of rechaufé[7] [sic] of the Whistlerian decoration he had hitherto in due journalistic routine decryed [sic] - not only in

When on the occasion intimate Oscar[8] was once entrusted with the golden summary of the Ten O'clock[9] theories on laws of[10] Art that and poured them out upon the dazzled youths of the Academy as his own, the temptation not only was great, but the chance of discovery was small, for the Ten O'Clock had not yet appeared, but at Fulham the Lemon Yellow[11] bringing the Sun into the room in spite of London fog has been the joy of London for years in my while the Venetian hue so much admired, was, and then in mischief can no further go, absolutely mixed in the british workmans pot by my own misleading self in - Many when a thing is lent, reckon it to be found & so give much trouble to them that have helped them -

[p. 2, sketches of two women[12]]

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1.  [18 December 1888]
The final version of this letter, dated 18 December 1888 (#11434), was published in The World, no. 756, vol. 29, 26 December 1888, p. 17; and later in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890, and Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, pp. 233-234. See Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 54, pp. 43-44, and K.18, pp. 260-261.

2.  Edmund Hodgson Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more].

3.  astute
Written at top right, in ink (rest of letter in pencil).

4.  cocksure
Written at top right, in ink.

5.  Australian gentleman of Fulham
Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more].

6.  article in last weeks Pall Mall
'The Home of Taste', Pall Mall Gazette, 1 December 1888.

7.  rechaufé
Fr., reheated; sometimes used pejoratively of an old joke or idea. JW accused Menpes of plagiarism.

8.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

9.  Ten O'clock
Whistler, James McNeill, Mr. Whistler's 'Ten O'clock', London, 1888.

10.  laws of
Added in ink.

11.  Fulham the Lemon Yellow
JW had yellow walls in his house (see The Yellow Room (M.881)) and had introduced a yellow and white scheme for the exhibition rooms for Mr Whistler's Etchings, The Fine Art Society, London, 1883.

12.  sketches of two women
A long dress with a flounced hem (M.1198). The drawing has nothing to do with the letter.