The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 10915
Date: 4 September 1881
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Henry Graves[1]
Place: [London]
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Call Number: f MS A 1412
Credit Line: Published by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University
Document Type: ALS

Tite Street. Chelsea.

Sept 4. 1881 -

Dear Sir -

Messrs Dickinson[2] will send tomorrow morning for the Portrait[3] of my Mother which you are good enough to allow to go to the Exhibition[4] in Philadelphia -

Mrs Merritt[5] writes to say that tomorrow is the very last day for collecting the paintings -

Kindly have the picture wiped or cleaned so that it may leave in first rate condition -

With many thanks
Very faithfully Yours

J. A. McN. Whistler.

Henry Graves. Esq

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1.  Henry Graves
Henry Graves (1806-1892), print dealer and founder of H. Graves and Co. [more].

2.  Messrs Dickinson
Probably Foord and Dickinson, frame-makers of 129 Wardour Street.

3.  Portrait
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) was one of two pictures deposited by Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more] as security on a loan of £100 from Graves on 9 September 1878 (see A. Graves to JW, #01797). JW still owed money to Graves.

4.  Exhibition
The picture was being sent to the Special Exhibition of Paintings by American Artists at Home and in Europe, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1881-1882. It was also exhibited in New York.

5.  Mrs Merritt
Anna Lea Merritt (1844-1930), portrait and genre painter [more]. Merritt was asked by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to persuade JW to send a picture to the exhibition. He agreed to send the portrait of his mother and Merritt organised its shipment to Philadelphia (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol 2, pp. 297-8).