UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Japanese butterfly
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 10020
Date: [1/14 May 1884?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Mortimer Luddington Menpes[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Texas
Document Type: ALS


If you could manage it might you not on your way to town look in?

I want to ask you about the colors of the fra new frames[3] you have made the list of - perhaps you may have put them down - green gold, red gold &c &c - thought I don't remember seeing it -

Besides I was thinking I might give you [p. 2] colored sketch of plan of room for Dowdeswell[4] as you are going there -

In case you manage this, pass by the Embankment, if quite early, I shall be at the 'shop' game[5] - & then on to Studio

[butterfly signature]


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Notes:

1.  [1/14 May 1884?]
Dated by reference to preparations for an exhibition that opened on 17 May (see below).

2.  Mortimer Luddington Menpes
Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more].

3.  new frames
The frames were in three shades of gold to complement the pictures.

4.  colored sketch of plan of room for Dowdeswell
The sketch has not been located. On 17 May 1884 the exhibition of 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes' opened at Messrs Dowdeswell's gallery at 133 New Bond Street. The gallery was harmoniously decorated as an Arrangement in Flesh-Colour and Grey. Whistler sent the Dowdeswells a plan of the walls, 'Take great care of it and let me have it back to complete other details - ' he wrote. The colours were soft, the setting intimate, to appeal to a prosperous and cultivated class of visitor, reassuring and flattering visitors, by association, with its refinement. A journal commended the décor: 'The walls are of a very warm flesh-colour, the ceiling toned to correspond, the carpet is grey, the mantelpiece is draped with grey velvet edged with flesh-coloured cord, and at the corner of the mantel valance a Japanese butterfly of flesh-coloured velvet and a darker shade of grey is appliqué in the new style of needlework. In front of the grey velvet curtains, which close up the fireplace, stands a large crater of flesh-coloured earthenware, containing a large plant of marguerite daisies. Altogether the effect is very refined, harmonious and pleasant... the tints of the frames are subordinated to the pictures.' (Queen, 31 May 1884, GUL pc7, p. 5).

5.  'shop' game
JW painted numerous Chelsea shop fronts about this time, including Chelsea Shops (YMSM 246), Chelsea: Yellow and Grey (YMSM 247), Harmony in Yellow and Brown: Sunday (YMSM 248) and Street in Old Chelsea (YMSM 249). They may have been painted specifically for the Dowdeswell exhibition.