The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08746
Date: [19 November 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 4/22
Document Type: ALS

Dear Rose -

How about Ruskin[3] himself after all? Are you not going to subpoena him - had you not better subpoena him instantly or have you already done so? - And now about Parry and Petheram[4]? Have you arranged with them about the dinner[5] at my place? Do let me know tomorrow by note - so that I may be prepared - also when will you all come to see the pictures[6]?

Also how about our other witness-painters[7]? -

[p. 2] Goodnight -
Yours ever

J. A. McN. Whistler

Tuesday night

[p. 3] 'Whistler recd[8] 20 Nov 1878'

This document is protected by copyright.


James Anderson Rose Esq
11. Salisbury Street
[postmarks x 2 on recto and verso]: LONDON. W / 7 / NO 20 / 78


1.  [19 November 1878]
Dated from postmark and day of the week.

2.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

3.  'Whistler recd ... 1878'
Note written in J. A. Rose's hand at right-angles in left-hand margin of sheet.

4.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. This is a reference to JW's libel suit against Ruskin. The suit was in response to Ruskin's criticism of JW's works, especially Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170) in his periodical Fors Clavigera. On July 2 1877, he accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of the I Summer Exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213.

5.  Parry and Petheram
John Humffrey Parry (1816-1880), Sergeant-at-law, and William Comer Petheram (1835-1922), barrister [more] who acted on JW's behalf in the trial of Whistler v Ruskin.

6.  dinner
On 22 November, JW arranged a viewing at his studio for Parry and Petheram of the pictures (see note below). Dinner was reputedly served by bailiffs who had taken possession of JW's studio house, the White House, due to his inability to pay his bills (see Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, p. 125). Ruskin's counsel had already viewed four of the eight works exhibited by JW at the Grosvenor Gallery (see JW to J. E. Boehm, #11985).

7.  pictures
A reference to the pictures that JW planned to bring before the court as evidence. They included Nocturne in Blue and Silver (YMSM 113), Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 140), and Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170).

8.  witness-painters
The only professional artist of standing that JW managed to persuade to testify on his behalf was Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893), painter [more] (see JW to A. J. Moore, #04167).