The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: lithographic stump
Record 10 of 16

System Number: 03350
Date: 21 November [1893][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Thomas Robert Way[2]
Place: London
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 107
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac. Paris -

Nov 21.
Tuesday eveg

Bravo! My dear Tom tell your Father[4] I am enchanted - I don't know what you mean about the skies being too heavy - I hope fervently that they will stay in the printing throughout exactly as they are -

Charming - I think them - Indeed this stump I really believe I am making at last something altogether peculiar - don't you? - I am getting now a [p. 2] richness with it - a certain velvety daintiness - quite unlike anything I have ever seen - What does your Father say? - There is a quality about the work now - or beginning to be perhaps - that is quite as fascinating as anything in the etchings - But it is nothing to what I shall get yet! -

The little sitting figure in drapery[5] I am immensely pleased with - don't you both like it? - Do you see I am getting to use the stump just like a brush - and the work is beginning to have the mystery in execution of a painting -

Well and the lying down figure[6] is also a great success -

Of course the stone is a dire failure simply - Now the reason for this is clear to me - In the first place I got hold of by accident a damned piece of chalk called "Estompe" - It must be made almost entirely of varnish - It was as though I were using a stick of candy! - You can see how it has clung fast to the stone in a jerky gluey way - so that the lines are all not only heavy but spotty - and in dots - On the other hand the stump has scarcely taken at all! - so that the whole thing is black against a crude empty unmodeled figure[7]! -  I am sorry, for with the colour and tone of it all it looked well - and now we must destroy [p. 3] the thing at once - No one is to see it - Tell your Father to wipe it off the stone and send me a proof of its destroyed state - and then you might regrain the stone & send it me when you have an occasion - It was very right and wise of you not to have shown this to Marty[8] - and to have discreetly packed the 3 proofs[9] in the box with the new stone - which, by the way, looks most inviting - Thank your Father from me for so nicely sending it - [However?] You have, by this, received the new paper - I shall send you more at once - Now I want you to print 12. proofs of each of these last five drawings[10] and send them to me as soon as you can - Meanwhile I shall go on working out things - and by & bye we may get into the coloured ones together! The people[11] with whom I was going to print, I told you I have reasons for doubting -

Now about Mons. Marty - I shall send you by Sunday's [p. 1][12] post, the proof of the girl reclining[13] - & if you think you can make the little cleaning safely, Marty shall have that - If there be trouble or risk, well then he shall have the Luxembourg one of the Steps[14]

He is of course anxious about time [illegible]

The proofs for him are to be mounted on simple card - not too expensively - thinish card I suppose and just hinged at the top corners. Of course more margin at the bottom than at the top - About paper - The white you sent, is rather too white - Can you have his own Japanese[15]?

They ought to be on beautiful paper.

The 107 proofs are to be sent here[16] - and the bill [p. 2][17] for everything - including carriage etc to be sent to Monsieur Marty 17. Rue de Rome, I think - though doubtless you have his address -

[butterfly signature]

I shall expect to hear from you - Oh I don't mean you to trouble about the P. M. Mag[18]. I mean you to find out the highest price they can pay -

This document is protected by copyright.


Thomas Way Junr.
50. Upper George Street
Bryanston Square
London -
[postmark:] PARIS [...] / R. DU BAC / 21 25 / NOV / 93


1.  21 November [1893]
Year dated from the postmark. Dated in pencil, in another hand, on p. 2, '23 Novr 93'. Although JW dated this letter 21 November, a Tuesday, it was not posted until 25 November, and not received by Way until 27 November.

2.  Thomas Robert Way
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), printer, lithographer and painter [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 72-73, no. 58.

4.  Father
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

5.  sitting figure in drapery
The Draped Figure, Seated (C.72).

6.  lying down figure
Nude Model, Reclining (C.73).

7.  unmodeled figure
Way wrote that the drawing was a female figure in line and stump on an odd bit of stone that JW had found in Paris; it was brought over to Way by William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more] (see #03349). The stone may have not been prepared properly (see Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, p. 93; #06102; Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, Apps. II.3, II.4, entries for 18N).

8.  Marty
André E. Marty (b. 1857), journalist, illustrator and print publisher [more].

9.  3 proofs
No proofs of the failed stone have survived; see #06102.

10.  five drawings
The Steps, Luxembourg (C.68), The Pantheon, from the terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens (C.70), The Draped Figure, Seated (C.72), Nude Model, Reclining (C.73).

11.  people
Henri Belfond (fl. 1891-1894), lithographic printer [more]. See #03286 and #03347.

12.  [p. 1]
'post ... Steps' is written on p. 1 in the left margin, and 'He is of course ... the bill' in the top margin, at right angles to the main text, overlapping the address and date.

13.  girl reclining
JW eventually used neither Nude Model, Reclining (C.73) nor The Steps, Luxembourg (C.68), but chose instead The Draped Figure, Seated (C.72) for L'Estampe originale (see #03352, #06104 and #06105).

14.  Steps
The Steps, Luxembourg (C.68).

15.  Japanese
JW liked to use old laid or glossy japanese paper for variety in printing.

16.  here
Double underlined.

17.  [p. 2]
The remainder of the text is written in the left margin of p. 2, at right angles to the main text.

18.  P. M. Mag
The Pall Mall Magazine; see #03348, #06103 and #03350.