The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11635
Date: [1 May] 1892[1]
Author: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: Paris
Recipient: Alexander Reid[3]
Place: Glasgow
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 193
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS

[engraving[4] of a staircase and finial decorated with two figures]

'Mar. 28, 1893' '193'

33 Rue de Tournon

Dear Mr Reade, [sic]

Mr Whistler is anxious to know if you know anything about the Leyland Sale, which, in an article[5] in the number of the arts journal for this month he sees is to shortly take place at Christies.

The article you [p. 2] will see makes a slight mention of the Peacock Room, but nothing about the full length portrait[6] of a woman in Japanese costume which hands in it.

Now - Mr Whistler thinks you ought to try for that picture, for or at least fight it - for at the present juncture of affairs he does not think it ought to be let go for a small price - [p. 3] He says he is sure you could sell it in Glasgow - for it is the most brilliantly coloured of them all and is very beautiful

Let us know - if you[7] are going to be in London for the sale for if you are Mr Whistler would like you to try and get for him a little group[8] - If it goes at a sum within reason

I enclose you the illustration of it from the art journal - Dont [p. 4] you know anyone in Glasgow who would make an offer for the Peacock Room[9]? It could with care be removed.

We hope Mrs. Reid is quite well after her travels - please give her our kindest regards.

This is the first of May and we are expecting to be blown up, so if we are, look upon this letter as our last wishes, and buy that picture -

Very truly yours

Beatrix Whistler

[written up left side of page:] I would have sent you the article in question only we want to keep it for the peacocks.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1 May] 1892
The date 'Mar. 28, 1892' is written at the top of the letter in another hand. Dated [1 May] 1892 by Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 306, and n. 59, p. 380. See copy, #03202.

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

3.  Alexander Reid
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more].

4.  engraving
The illustration is cut from the Art Journal, 1892, p. 137. See Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 146, for a photograph of the entrance hall at 49 Princes Gate.

5.  article
Robinson, Lionel, 'The Private Art Collections of London. The Late Mr. Frederick Leyland's [Collection] in Prince's Gate. Second Paper. - The Leyland Collection,' The Art Journal, May 1892, pp. 134-138.

6.  portrait
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50).

7.  you
See also B. Whistler to E. G. Kennedy, 1 May 1892, #09677; Prinsep, Val, 'The Private Art Collections of London. The Late Mr Frederick Leyland's [Collection] in Prince's Gate. First Paper - Rossetti and his Friend,' The Art Journal, new series, no. 647, May 1892, pp 129-134, pp. 129-34; JW to D. C. Thomson, #08203.

8.  little group
A gilded-wood sculpture of two female figures, one holding an oriflamme; Theodore Child attributed it to Jacopo Sansovino and supposed it to have adorned the prow of a Venetian galley ('A Pre-Raphaelite Mansion', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 82, December 1890, p. 82). It crowned the newel post at the foot of the grand stair in the Leyland house hall. Murray Marks is said to have acquired the sculpture 'from a Venetian palace' (Williamson, George Charles, Murray Marks and his Friends, London and New York, 1919, pp. 34-35). A detail from this illustration in The Art Journal is attached to the top of the stationery.

9.  Peacock Room
The Art Journal article is illustrated with a wood engraving by J. E. Mitchell (dated 1892) of the south wall of the Peacock Room, (op. cit., p. 135).