The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13544
Date: [25/31 January 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Duke [of Marlborough?][2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B36b
Document Type: ALd

 7.50[3] -
 45 00     5.
 75 0 

Un joli compliment[5]

My dear Duke -


A pretty compliment my dear Duke! - as you know how to make them - Certainly it is pleasing to listen to cou[r]tesies of this kind - and to believe that after all ones work in England is not altogether lost - even in ones own time before one has managed to get it out of the country -

I have been here in this most delightful of cities now for some time - and every day I am more lost in astonishment at the dull marvelous obstinacy [that with?] which I remained and continued to stay on the other side of the Channel among amidst a people so absolutely unfitted for one's artistic personal enjoyment - ex It must have been that a precious capacity for antagonism on my part with perhaps a mischievous delight in their mystification - !

Does Quand dites vous![6] together with of course a sense of the rare occasion of exercising one's Gentle Art of Making Enemies[7]! - Quand dites vous? Here one Here I am in the most charming mood -

It is really delightful to be petti anticipated with courtesies and honours considerations even of an official kind - and ma foi[8]! when ones work[9] - hitherto raved at by an e[n]raged Nation - is carried in triumph to the Luxembourg on its way to the Louvre - one admits the difference sweetness of ones own disposition! -

It is pretty to have been C'est beau[10] d'avoir été insulté en Angleterre, pour être couvert d'honneur en France! - Fancy! had it been t'other way about!! - My dear Duke what a fool's paradise one would have lived in -

We shall of course I shall of course paint no more in Englan portraits in    I am enjoying

I feel no inclination to go back - and I mean to think I shall paint the people here - but in London - why should I be a continued puzzle & kill joy when they really are wishing to like their own - - Herkomers[11] and Holls[12] and all the other H's they dont drop -

No I [mean?]

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1.  [25/31 January 1892]
This was written on the verso of a letter dating from earlier in January, #00261.

2.  Duke [of Marlborough?]
Whistler had been in contact with a few Dukes (the Royal Dukes, the Dukes of Argyll, Beaufort, Devonshire, Leinster, Marlborough and Wellington). The most likely recipient is George Charles Spencer-Churchill (1844-1892), 8th Duke of Marlborough [more]. He was considering a portrait commission and was on casually friendly terms with JW; see his letter to JW, 19 April 1892, #08319.

3.  7.50
It is not clear to what these sums refer.

4.  120.00
Triple underlined.

5.  Un joli compliment
Fr., A pretty compliment.

6.  Quand dites vous!
Fr., When do you say?

7.  Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.

8.  ma foi
Fr., my goodness.

9.  work
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101).

10.  C'est beau...en France
Fr., It is fine to have been insulted in England, in order to be covered with honours in France! JW had just been made Officier de la Légion d'Honneur.

11.  Herkomers
Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914), painter [more].

12.  Holls
Francis ('Frank') Montague Holl (1845-1888), painter and illustrator [more].