The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 07791
Date: [24 October 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Joseph Pennell[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 272/3/9
Document Type: ALS

'[1894 Oct. 24]'[3]

110 Rue du Bac - Paris -

My dear Joseph -

I was sorry indeed to see so little of you the other day when you pushed through Paris in such improper haste! - I wanted to have a long talk with you about Spain - We meant you to tell us of all your experiences there - and what your feelings were when you looked at Velasquez[4] - whom we have, you know, never yet seen! -

McColl[5], you say didn't like Velasquez! [p. 2] or was disappointed in him! -

Then again I wanted to show you where I am with the lithographs[6] - you would, I fancy, like them - However Mrs Pennell[7] will tell you about them - for we showed some of them to her -

Also she will understand all about the paragraph about the telegram[8] I gave you -

Your wife was much interested in the whole Du Maurier[9] business - and I promised her that when the Harpers apology[10] had appeared in the papers (that was what we were waiting for) she should have the story of the telegram, as the final dénouement or bouquet of the entire affair.

Now say to her with my compliments that it would be an excellent business if the paragraphs you put carefully in your pocket book were to come out all over the place! - in the provincial papers as well as in London! - Does she not think so? for you see the Du Maurier lot have tried to make it look as if the Harpers' apology had nothing whatever to do with him! and they have shoved little pars [ie. paragraphs] into the papers to that effect -

This revelation, therefore, of the fact of his having really to rewrite his stuff, and submit it to me[11], together with my reply, would come like a bomb upon them Hampstead!! - Don't let us miss it -

And dont forget to end the paragraph - As it stands it reads:

[p. 3] "... sent the following ..
Compliments and complete approval... etc.["]

You might put
... sent the following delicious telegram:
Compliments etc...

That would be more exasperating I think - dont you both think so? -

Now mind you write me a line and tell me what you do about it all and also send me the cuttings when you have got it off -

What does Mrs Pennell think about the lithographs and the Magazine? -

With our kindest[12] regards to you both

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


Joseph Pennell Esqr
14. Buckingham Street
[postmark x 3:] PARIS / R[UE] - DES SAINTS-PERES / 24 OCT 94
[postmark on verso:] PARIS A CALAIS / 24 / OCT / 94
[postmark on verso:] LONDON S. M. P. / B M / OC 25 / 94


1.  [24 October 1894]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Joseph Pennell
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more].

3.  '[1894 Oct. 24]'
Date added at top of letter in an unknown hand.

4.  Velasquez
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), painter [more].

5.  McColl
Dugald Sutherland MacColl (1859-1948), painter and etcher, art critic and writer [more]; the word is not entirely clear, but the reference is more likely to be to MacColl than to Charles McCall (b. ca 1844- d. 1908), printer [more].

6.  lithographs
Lithographs of Paris, including Nursemaids: 'Les Bonnes du Luxembourg' (C.81).

7.  Mrs Pennell
Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936), née Robins, JW's biographer [more].

8.  telegram
A draft by JW of comment on his dispute with Du Maurier is JW to The Star, [24 October 1894?], #07789. Pennell was art critic of The Star.

9.  Du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more]. When Trilby first appeared in serial parts in Harper's Magazine in 1894, JW objected to Du Maurier's portrayal of himself in the character of Joe Sibley, the 'Idle Apprentice' in the March issue. Harper's subsequently apologised and Du Maurier toned down the references to JW. When the book was published in 1894, drawings of JW were also omitted. See W. Webb to Harper and Brothers, 29 May [1894], #06180; and JW to G. Webb, [June 1894], #06183. Du Maurier, George, 'Trilby,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, serialised, begun 1 January 1894; reprinted (expunged) as Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894; regular ed., London and New York, 1895.

10.  Harpers apology
Harper and Brothers, publishers of Du Maurier's Trilby. The letter of public apology JW demanded of them was published in the first week of October, although it was dated 8th September 1894 (#09879).

11.  me
Double underlined.

12.  With our kindest
The remainder of the letter is written in the top left margin of p. 1.