The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 12711
Date: [20 December 1868][1]
Author: Charles Samuel Keene[2]
Place: London
Recipient: Edwin Edwards[3]
Place: Penzance
Repository: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Call Number: Sir Herbert Thompson Gift, 1920, Keene Letters 32
Document Type: ALS

55 Baker Street

Sunday evening 20th

Dear Master


[p. 4] [...] If you will be in town next summer won't you join the Arts Club[4]? We want to get artists to join as we have succeeded in ousting some of the Philistines[5]. I saw Jemmy W[6]. there last night & am going to see his picture[7] tomorrow morning[,] he is painting in Poynters[8] Old Studio in Great Russel [sic] [p. 5] St. [...]

[p. 6] [...]

yours very sincerely

Charles S. Keene

This document is protected by copyright.


E. Edwards Esq.
Penberth Cottage
Penberth Cove
[stamp removed]
[postmark:] LONDON S.W / W7 / DE 21 / 68
[postmark:] PENZANCE / B / DE 22 / 68


1.  [20 December 1868]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Charles Samuel Keene
Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891), etcher, cartoonist and illustrator [more] (see Layard, George Somes, The Life and Letters of Charles Samuel Keene, London, 1893, pp. 93-94).

3.  Edwin Edwards
Edwin Edwards (1823-1879), lawyer, painter and etcher [more]. Only the section of this letter relating to JW has been transcribed.

4.  Arts Club
The Arts Club was a social club founded in March 1863 by Arthur James Lewis (1824-1901), painter and illustrator [more], owner of the haberdashery firm Lewis and Allenby, but also a keen musician and Field Talfourd, a lawyer and playwright. Its membership of 200 or so during the 1860s comprised mainly artists and writers but included the professions.

5.  Philistines
Possibly he means the Club's subtantial body of amateur and non-artistic members. Academicians formed another significant portion of the membership. The aims of the Club were broader than its title suggests: its stated aims were 'to facilitate the social intercourse of those connected either professionally or as amateurs with Art, Literature or Science.' See Denvir, Bernard, A Most Agreeable Society: A hundred and twenty-five years of the Arts Club, London, 1989, p. 10.

6.  Jemmy W

7.  picture
Probably The Three Girls (YMSM 88).

8.  Poynters
Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), history and genre painter [more]. JW painted in the studio of Frederick Jameson (1839-1916), architect and musician [more], at 62 Great Russell Street in the spring of 1868 and then again in December, when he was at work on The Three Girls. It had formerly been Poynter's studio (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, pp. 147-48).