The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09550
Date: [1 April 1876][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Mrs [E. D.] Wallace[2]
Repository: Private Collection
Document Type: ALS

[butterfly signature]

Your article[3] is charming, my dear Mrs. Wallace - and with the description[4] of the etchings & dry points will be perfect -

Many thanks - Soon I hope to show you my big picture[5] -

Meanwhile, with kindest regards
Always yours

J. A M'N. Whistler

2 Lindsey Houses Chelsea -

You should[6] mention the butterfly is my mark -

The name[7] of my Mother's picture[8] is "Arrangement in Grey & Black, Portrait of the Painter's Mother."

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1 April 1876]
After 1 April 1876. Dated from the reference to an article by E. D. Wallace, which appeared on 1 April. However, the date could be before 1 April as JW may be referring to a draft article rather than the published result. Alternatively, the letter could date from the period in between the publication of two versions of the article (see bibliographical reference below).

2.  Mrs E. D. Wallace
Mrs E. D. Wallace (fl. 1871-1887), poet, novelist and writer on art [more]. However, the author of the 'London Letter' is identified in the The Baltimore Gazette (see note below) as 'Mr E. D. Wallace.'

3.  article
Wallace published a humorous article on JW which included a lengthy discussion of his etchings and drypoints (see Wallace, E. D., 'The Fine Arts Abroad,' Forney's Weekly Press, 1 April 1876). A cutting of the article is in GUL, Whistler PC 1, p. 91. Another version is in GUL, Whistler PC 1, p. 75 ('Mr Whistler's Paintings. A Baltimore Artist in England - What is Thought of Him Abroad,' The Baltimore Gazette). It quotes extensively from Wallace's 'London Letter' in Forney's Weekly Press. Both articles are annotated in Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, p. 175, J. 32, J. 33.

4.  description
Wallace describes JW's prints in glowing terms, as JW's response here suggests. Their rarity is highlighted in Wallace's anecdote of a visit to view them at the British Museum Print Room: 'We are cautioned by the clerk "to handle the treasures carefully", for there are no duplicates of exquisite drypoints, and the British Museum is the only place in the world where they can be seen.' This anecdote is repeated in both papers.

5.  big picture
This may have been Symphony in White and Red (YMSM 85) on which Wallace notes that JW was then working.

6.  Mother's picture
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more]. See Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101), also mentioned in the article.

7.  You should ... mark -
Written at right-angles to the main text, in the right-hand margin.

8.  The name ... Mother
Written upside down to the main text, at the top of the sheet and above the butterfly signature.