The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 10629
Date: 1 March [1873][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Samuel Putnam Avery[2]
Place: [New York]
Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Call Number: Library and Archives
Document Type: ALS

2 Lindsey Houses -
Chelsea -

March 1st.

Dear Avery -

Will you see that the enclosed is published in the New York Home journal[3] for me - and also in any other paper where you think it advisable - The infernal lie first came out in the Baltimore Gazette[4]. It was not their fault of course - neither do I think it exactly the fault of their correspondent - who seems to have been [p. 2] hoaxed by the chap Stephen Tucker[5] over here! -

The matter is perhaps of no great importance - still I wish it to be clearly understood that the titles[6] to my works are given to them by myself alone - and are due to no one elses invention or suggestion -

Also that they are not meant to have any literary twang of poetry about them, (for that I fear I have rather [illegible] an unwarrantable contempt) but are meant to indicate scientifically [p. 3] the kind of work upon which I am engaged -

Do pray write me a line of news now and then - I am not much of a correspondent - but I should be greatly pleased to read your letters[7] - after which selfish confession I had better bid you Goodbye - for the present -

Believe me with thanks for the papers you have sent me and apologies for the trouble I am now giving you -

Sincerely Yours

J A McN Whistler

[p. 4] I have done some new dry points - the result of your visit here! - Do you want any proofs? They are figures[8] - very fine! Also valuable - 5 guineas a proof -

Also I have turned up again the plate of "Annie Haden"[9] - of who you have a proof without the legs - The plate is in a superb condition! - Scarcely any proofs would have been taken from it and it has been lying by all these years! It will of course give [few?] and I ask 10 guineas a proof -

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1.  1 March [1873]
Dated from the discussion of JW's titles in the press, in other letters (#09182, #09587).

2.  Samuel Putnam Avery
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more].

3.  New York Home journal
For drafts of the enclosed letter, see #09587 and #07429.

4.  Baltimore Gazette
Date of publication not identified.

5.  Stephen Tucker
Stephen Isaacson Tucker (1835-1887), collector, genealogist and Queen's Herald [more].

6.  titles
On 18 January 1872 JW had written to G. A. Lucas in Paris, saying he had had news of Lucas from Avery, and discussing, in similar terms, his new approach to painting and presenting his pictures (#09182).

7.  letters
JW was in fact writing quite often to Avery, usually with offers of etchings (see #09022, #10628). Avery's superb collection of early etchings and drypoints, now in New York Public Library, attests to the success of JW's marketing tactics and Avery's good taste.

8.  figures
1873 marked the start of a burst of enthusiasm during which JW drew and printed drypoints. The earliest are difficult to date, but may include portraits of the Leylands, such as The Velvet Dress (K.105), and of Maud Franklin, as well as figure subjects like The Piano (K.141).

9.  Annie Haden
Annie Haden (K.62). In the first state of the earlier etching Annie (K.10), the figure had legs, which were then removed in the second state. The etching was re-worked, but they had not been replaced by the time it was published, in the fourth state, in Twelve Etchings from Nature, 1858 (the 'French Set', K.9-11, 13-17, 19, 21, 22, 24). (excat 3). A fifth state with the legs partially drawn in was printed, but is rare. JW objected 'Legs not by me, the impertinent work of another' (noted by Kennedy on an impression in the Lenox Library). The model was Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more]. The alterations may have been made by her father, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].