The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 15 of 141

System Number: 13180
Date: [22 October 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edward William Godwin[2]
Place: [London]
Call Number: [Published][3]
Document Type: PLS

I hear you have been dressing our Oscar[4] in plush! - why?

That, I thought, ceased with the breeches - you know:

"Knee plush ultra[5]!"

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [22 October 1884]
Dated from publication (see below).

2.  Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more]. Godwin published an article on 'Dress and Its Relation to Health and Climate' for the Handbook of the International Health Exhibition of 1884.

3.  [Published]
The letter was sent to Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more], and published in 'What the World Says', The World: A Journal for Men and Women, no. 538, vol. 21, 22 October 1884, p. 18 (466) under the heading 'More ribaldry from the riverside - in a letter to Mr. Godwin, the great authority on costume'. Also published with the date of 'Oct. 17, 1884' in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, edited by Sheridan Ford, 1890, p. 100, as 'Knee Plush Ultra'; see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 27.

4.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more], was known for his exotic clothes, including knee breeches.

5.  Knee plush ultra
Lat., 'Ne plus ultra': Don't go too far, which was Charles V's motto.