UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 13346
Date: [January/February 1894?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: John Gerald Potter[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
Call Number: GLAHA 46176, p. 58
Document Type: ALd


Dear Potter -

At the present moment you are offering for sale in Paris the three pictures[3] I painted at the following prices - viz.

The little White Girl 30,000 f = £1200 -
Blue & Silver 15,000 - £ 600 -
Grey note - Thames - 10,000 - £ 400
    £2200

 

You paid me for those three pictures as well as I remember about -

The little White Girl £150  
Blue & Silver 100 - or was it 80
Grey Note   30 - or was it 40
  £280  

 

Wherefore you propose to make[4] out of my reputation - out of my name - out of long years battle with the in[sults?] of your fellow countrymen - a cool couple of thousand of pounds -

Now what right have you[5] to one penny of this money? - Legally every possible right - its true [as] a typical member one of the Nation of shopkeepers to wh[ich] [now?] belong [illegible] right -

[sketch[6] of peacock's tail feathers]
 200
 150
£2020

As a typical British Art Patron - one who [periodically?] & characteristically refused to pay for the f for the frames[7] I had made for the works themselves, it is your right & by

So that I make the fortune of or add to the wealth of a people who have done their best to impoverish me -

The "pot of paint"[8] then, has not against wh. you all were warned by your guide & teacher, was not such a bad thing to speculate in after all -


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

1.  [January/February 1894?]
Dated from a similar undated draft, #05010, and a related letter to Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more], on 4 February 1894, #09715).

2.  John Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more].

3.  three pictures
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115) and Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf (YMSM 54). The first two were bought by Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more], in 1893 for £1400. Potter had originally purchased Symphony in White, No. 2 for less than £150 (see also #09715, #02674, #02671, #05610).

4.  make
'make' is double underlined.

5.  you
'you' is double underlined.

6.  frames
JW had recommended Potter to take his pictures to Frederick H. Grau (d. 1894/1895), picture framer [more], to have the frames replaced, #01488.

7.  pot of paint
A reference to the remark made by John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more], which led JW to sue him for libel in 1878: 'I have seen, and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected a coxcomb to ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' (Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213).

8.  sketch
Sketchbook (M.1363), inside back cover.