The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08609
Date: [16/20 February 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Charles William Dowdeswell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr Dowdeswell -

It is because I require the sum £(600) that I am ready to part with my plates[3] at such an enormous sacrifice -

That it is an enormous sacrifice you will know - Times are bad - very - but then they make the moment for speculation for those who have the chance -

Of course I know that you ought to have a commission on the sale - Suppose I say that you may have for yourself whatever sum you can obtain above the 600 - for it is [p. 2] absurd that lovely plates like these should be thrown upon the streets at about 20 guineas apiece! -

In any case do manage the matter immediately as that is the chief point -

Yours fai[thfu]lly

J McN Whistler

The plates are all fresh as far as the public are [sic] concerned - They are known from the White & Yellow exhibition[4] and Catalogue - but haven't been "seen" at all because they have remained in my hands and I have not occupied myself with them - Whatever proofs I have pulled can go to the buyer -

The[5] Van had better not go for the pictures[6] until tomorrow after I have see you -

Perhaps upon[7] the whole it is wiser to put the plates at 700. and you take the ten percent

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1.  [16/20 February 1886]
Dated from reference to Venice etchings (see below) and C. W. Dowdeswell to JW, 16 February 1886, #00859.

2.  Charles William Dowdeswell
Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915), art dealer [more].

3.  plates
A Set of twenty-six etchings of Venice, 1886 (the second 'Venice set') (K.196-216, 233-237). (excat 6) was issued by Dowdeswell's in April 1886. The first proofs were delivered on 2 April 1886 (see receipt, #00863). See also correspondence between JW and C. W. Dowdeswell, #08600, #11255, #00859, #08610, #08680, #09241, #08626, #08681, #08678, #08675. See also lists of etchings, including #00862.

4.  White & Yellow exhibition
Mr Whistler's Etchings, The Fine Art Society, London, 1883

5.  The
Written diagonally in the top left corner of p. 1.

6.  pictures
This probably relates to JW's request that his pictures at the galleries of the Society of British Artists be sent for (see JW to C. W. Dowdeswell, #08600). JW had exhibited nine works at its winter exhibition which opened in November 1885. They included Arrangement in Black, No. 8: Portrait of Mrs Cassatt (YMSM 250).

7.  Perhaps upon ... take
Written upside down at the beginning of p. 1.