The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09264
Date: [October/November 1889?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Theodore Child[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: George A. Lucas Collection Archives, Letters - James McNeill Whistler to Theodore Child no. 10
Document Type: MsLS[3]

Dear Mr Child -

When I had your letter I meant to have written to you at once, but it required a little reflection and one cannot do much of that with a horrid cold in the head.

With as much wit as I can under the circumstances work into my service I would like to say that of course I could not be better placed in the magazine you speak of than [p. 2] by yourself, but I should like this time to be taken from an altogether different point of view[4] -

I think the occasion is an excellent one, and in your hands the work would be perfect.

This however would require a good talk between us, and happily as you say there is plenty of time -

Meanwhile, about the pictures you yourself seem to be much more successful in obtaining them for publication -

I should like very much Miss Alexander[5] engraved by the one who did Miss Corder[6]. Alexander's[7] address is Aubrey House Aubrey Road - Campden Hill.

He may not lend the picture, but you might persuade him to let Braun[8] get at it, - and while he is about it, make a splendid large photograph - - -

"The symphony in White no. 3." at Louis Huth's[9] - Possingworth
might be managed in the same [p. 3] way, and Braun ought to do the photograph almost the size of the picture original - as the picture is not too large.

Perhaps Huth may even lend the picture in the end, which would be important, as the hair and gold flesh color photographs too darkly, unless Braun can manage.

What would be a great thing would be of course be a reproduction of portions of the Peacock room[10], which I hear you have been to see.

How this could be managed I [p. 4] I [sic] dont quite see, for as you know - if Leyland[11] had any notion of it - the place would be sealed up for ever. Still to the brave all is possible, and if you can undertake the burglarious photographer, who in these days of electric light is very differently equipped, and could succeed even by stealth where before full permission would not have saved him from failure - and if you will buy the soul of the British concierge, or what is more to the purpose his lady - (you could have them both for [p. 5] a fiver I should think) - and you see that these are different details that I could not handle without risk of spoiling our chance of success - If you will do all these things then will I be personally responsible, and delight in being so, for any troublesome question that Leyland in his astonishment might ask.

You can say - that you got all your data from Mr Whistler and refer him to me -

I should suppose that the family[12], or what is left of them are generally out of town in the winter, and all caretakers will easily open the room.

I can furnish you with one or two excellent anecdotes of previous visits! -

In short the material I could give you scientific and other would be greatly appreciated in Paris -

Mr Alexander Ionides[13] 1A Holland Park has a fine portrait[14] of me by myself life sketch - which would engrave well and also especially one of my very [p. 6] finest nocturnes - the Valparaiso[15] - which you should certainly make him lend -

I think I will leave you with this at present until I hear further, and meanwhile I may tell you - that I believe we have a charming place in Paris already nearly certain, where - when you come back we can watch the further developments of our pretty plot, but of this at present not a word!! - You have already nearly destroyed me! - a crowd of creditors - so I hear, are asking for the address of Tortonis[16]!!

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [October/November 1889?]
Dated by reference to Child's articles (see below). A draft of this letter appears at #00625.

2.  Theodore Child
Theodore Child (1846-1892), journalist and art critic [more].

3.  MsLS
This is written in the hand of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. The butterfly signature is by JW.

4.  different point of view
Child had written several articles critical of JW in 1886, and JW replied with a series of letters to the periodical press. Thus, in 1888, when Child proposed to write some articles for Harper's New Monthly Magazine, he was, with reason, hesitant to enrage JW again, and on his part, JW hoped for a 'different point of view.' Child's first article was Child, Theodore, 'American Artists at the Paris Exhibition,' Harpers New Monthly Magazine, vol. 79, no. 472, September 1889, pp. 489-521, pp. 489-521, which contained three illustrations of his work. It gave a review of JW's career, focussing on the pictures then on exhibition in the American section of the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.

5.  Miss Alexander
Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129).

6.  Miss Corder
Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203) was engraved by Fréderic Florian (b. 1858), alias 'Rognon', wood engraver [more].

7.  Alexander's
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more].

8.  Braun
Adolphe Braun (1812-1877), founder of the Paris photographic firm [more].

9.  Louis Huth's
Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more], owned Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61).

10.  Peacock Room
The second article was 'A Pre-Raphaelite Mansion,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 82, December 1890, pp. 81-99, which included a discussion of the Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178).

11.  Leyland
JW had quarrelled irrevocably with his former patron, Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

12.  the family
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), shipowner, his wife Frances, and their children Frederick Dawson, Fanny, Florence and Elinor.

13.  Mr Alexander Ionides
Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more].

14.  portrait
Arrangement in Grey: Portrait of the Painter (YMSM 122).

15.  the Valparaiso
Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay (YMSM 76).

16.  Tortonis
Famous café/restaurant in Paris.