The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 10979
Date: [20/25 January 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: [St Ives]
Recipient: Elisabeth Lewis[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Call Number: Department of Western Manuscripts, MS Dep. c.838, fols 114-15
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mrs George -

I write to you, from this distant land, to wish you all happiness for the New Year we have just begun -

Also to commend myself to your sympathy and protection during the same. -

There are some who arrange through life that George[3] shall never take up arms against them - let me make a covenant of this kind with you - and I shall be even wiser & stronger than they! -

[p. 2] Tell me that you will, in all my battles, urge the great George to go beyond the law!! -

for as I wrote to him the other day, Justice is a poor thing - and blind, as we well know! - also is she within the easy grasp of the most venal Solicitor - but beneath the attention of Ely Place - where 'what may be' is without limit, and the 'upshot of things' a[4] simple caprice of genius! -

Meanwhile for your delectation I have paraded our dead Arry[5] more than once of late, as I trust you will have seen - and the 'body' is out again in this week 'in the World'[6] -

I must show you, when I come to town, some few little things[7] I bring back -

What I could do for Nature!

With kindest regards to both
Always sincerely Yours -

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [20/25 January 1884]
Dated by reference to letters in the World (see below).

2.  Elisabeth Lewis
Elisabeth Lewis (1844-1931), née Eberstadt, wife of G. H. Lewis [more].

3.  George
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

4.  a
Corrected from 'the'.

5.  Arry
Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more].

6.  'in the World'
[World, 26 December 1883 and 2 January 1884], Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.24; #11398. JW's letter of 19 January 1884 was published on 30 January 1884 (ibid., B.25; #11399). There are similar references to the papers in #09420; #03607, #10690, #10979.

7.  few little things
Numerous small scale works in oil, such as The Angry Sea (YMSM 282), and watercolour, such as Sunrise; gold and grey (M.917), reveal this as an important period in JW's artistic development (see YMSM 263-288; M.915-921).