The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: lawsuit, Campbell v. Campbell
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 05430
Date: [May/June 1888?][1]
Author: Walter Richard Sickert[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler S74
Document Type: ALS[3]



My dear Jimmy

You have written to me in a fit of the blues. Indifference you know perfectly well I have never shown towards anything that concerned you, dating back to years before I even knew you, and independance [sic] is a quality I have never the merit of which I have never heard you throw a doubt upon - except indeed in the matter of Switzerland, and there I went for health & not for scenery.

The matter of the Institute[4] has after all a pleasant side for you, as I explained to you. It shows merely that now you have taught me to walk I am not crying to be carried - You have quite enough on your hands without having to run the shakey [sic] work of mere devotion. I know you would do [p. 2] it & do it superbly but although altogether healthier in [the?] matter [of etchings?] and that is one reason the more why I do not mean to [four illegible words] throw myself on your good-nature but take my chance and peddle my work where & how I can. In fact I have no other choice, as you know. Painting must be for me a profession & not be a pastime, or else I must give it up & take to something practical.

I will send you copies this evening of the Fine Art correspondence[5]. I have been unfortunately been very much [hindered?] by my own affairs from attending to it as promptly as I should wish to have done. And added to that I at first waited from day to day in the hope of the Campbell[6] case terminating & enabling me to see George Lewis[7]. However I have [p. 3] given that up & got Mr. [Lickfold's?] opinion which is that we must do the best we can but should have no case.

W. S.

And o master "be not as a lion within thy house nor frantick [sic] among thy pupils!" For they mean very well.

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1.  [May/June 1888?]
Dated by reference to 'Institute' (see below).

2.  Walter Richard Sickert
Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more].

3.  ALS
The paper has a narrow mourning border.

4.  Institute
Sickert asserted his independence from JW by refusing to join the Royal Society of British Artists committee, and instead, exhibiting in 1888 with The Institute of Oil Painters (see Wendy Baron and Richard Shone, Sickert Paintings, New Haven and London, 1992, p. 35, quoting this letter).

5.  Fine Art correspondence
The Fine Art Society, London print dealers, had for some reason sold some of JW's etchings without his authorisation, and Sickert, on JW's behalf, had sought adequate compensation.

6.  Campbell
Gertrude Elizabeth Campbell (1857-1911), née Blood, Lady Colin Campbell, writer, art critic and amateur artist [more], petitioned for divorce from her husband in 1886; he presented counter claims. Both claims were eventually dismissed. The case aroused great controversy.

7.  George Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].