The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: decoration, house
Record 14 of 26

System Number: 11434
Date: [18 December 1888][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: [Published][3]
Document Type: PLc

Atlas, -

Nothing matters but the unimportant; so, at the risk of advertising an Australian immigrant[4] of Fulham - who, like the Kangaroo of his country, is born with a pocket and puts everything into it - and, in spite of much wise advice, we ought not to resist the joy of noticing how readily a hurried contemporary has fallen a prey to its superficial knowledge of its various departments, and, culminating in a "Special Edition" last week to embody a lengthy interview headed "The Home of Taste[5]," has discovered again the nest of the mare that was foaled years ago!

How, by the way, so smart a paper should have printed its naïf emotions of ecstasy before the false colours which the "Kangaroo" has hoisted over his bush, defies all usual explanation, but clearly the jaunty reporter whose impudent familiarity, on a former memorable occasion, achieved my wondering admiration, must have been, in stress of business, replaced [p. 2] by a novice who had never breakfasted with you and me, Atlas, and the rest of the world, in the "lemon-yellow[6]," of whose beautiful tone he now, for the first time, is so completely convinced.

The "hue" on the "face" of the Fulham "Palazzo"[7] he moreover calls "Venetian," and is pleased with it - and so was I, Atlas - for I mixed it myself!

And yet, O Atlas, they say that I cannot keep a friend - my dear, I cannot afford it - and you only keep for me their scalps!

"Many, when a thing[8] was lent them, reckoned it to be found, and put them to trouble that helped them"

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18 December 1888]
Written on 18 December 1888 and published in The World, 26 December 1888.

2.  Edmund Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more].

3.  [Published]
Published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London, 1890, pp. 233-34, as 'Another Poacher in the Chelsea Preserves', and in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890. See Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 54, pp. 43-44, and K. 18, pp. 260-61.

4.  Australian immigrant
Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more].

5.  Home of Taste
'The Home of Taste: The Ideas of Mr Mortimer Menpes on House Decoration', Pall Mall Gazette, 13 December 1888, p. 5.

6.  lemon-yellow
JW painted some rooms in his house yellow (see The Yellow Room (M.881)) and used a yellow and white scheme for the decor of Mr Whistler's Etchings, The Fine Art Society, London, 1883.

7.  Fulham "Palazzo"
Menpes' house.

8.  Many, when a thing ... helped them
Quotation not identified.