The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: lithographic stump
Record 7 of 16

System Number: 06101
Date: 3 November 1893
Author: Thomas Robert Way[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W98
Document Type: ALS[2]


Novr 3 1893

My dear Master

Thank you for your charming letter[3]. I trust that the time may not be very long before you do come and make a lithotint, for in that not only have your works been quite to your highest pitch, but they remain absolutely alone as none of these other folk[4] have even made a trial with the material. I am sorry you did not let Mr Sickert[5] bring over the new drawings, but is it too late to send them by post? If you dissaprove [sic] of the results they can be taken off the stone as with [p. 2] The old man in the Chimney[6] corner. And if moreover, they are made on some transfer paper with which we are unacquainted, I should be loth to risk spoiling a drawing with which you were entirely satisfied. I shall venture to send you in a day or two some proofs of sketches I have been making out of doors on the grained paper in stump and chalk, experiments to see how far we could venture to use the stump. Up to the present we have been very successful, although we have made many failures on the way, but I am trying to transfer and print a nocturne made entirely with stump[7], the difficulty comes in fixing the work into the stone so as to keep the proper gradations, but we shall see. [p. 3] I am also using the coarser grained transfer paper, and find that the stump hides the coarseness and at the same time transfers stronger.

Mr Rothenstein[8] is making some charming portraits on the paper, he is amazingly clever.

My Father[9] is quite satisfied about the portrait, it is very good indeed and I cannot understand how he could have doubted that it was your work. That is quite an interesting bit of autobigraphical [sic] news! your drawing yourself each evening.

We know nothing of the Pall Mall[10] people at all. It was stated a short time ago that Mr Astor[11] the American millionaire had bought all the pall [p. 4] Mall publications, in which case they ought to pay you a very handsome fee for anything you may do for them.

Now with very kindest regards from my father and myself to Mrs Whistler[12] and you
I remain
Yours very sincerely

Tom R. Way.

J. McN. Whistler Esqre.

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  ALS
Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, pp. 67-68, no. 52.

3.  charming letter
See #03345.

4.  other folk
Way is probably referring to other artists working at Wellington Street. Apart from William Rothenstein, they probably included Robert Anning Bell, Charles E. Holloway, Mortimer L. Menpes, Frank Short, and Charles J. Watson, all of whom drew with crayon on transfer paper and had their original lithographs published in The Studio in 1894 and 1895; see The Studio, vol. 3, nos. 14-17, May-August 1894, and The Studio, vol. 4, no. 24, March 1895.

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

6.  Chimney
The Fireplace (C.61).

7.  stump
T. R. Way's first transfer lithographs were drawn on coarse-grained German transfer paper and dated 1893, and were among the subjects he included in his Reliques of Old London, London, 1896. Several of his early lithographs, such as those of Wych Street, Drury Lane, the church of St. Bartholomew the Great, and Cloth Fair, repeat subjects JW had drawn in his etchings or lithographs in the 1880s; Smale, Nicholas Burry, 'Thomas R. Way, His Life and Work,' The Tamarind Papers, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 22.

8.  Mr Rothenstein
William Rothenstein (1872-1945), artist [more].

9.  Father
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more]. The Ways had been trying to identify a drawing they had of JW; see #06100. It may have been r.: Portrait of the Artist; v.: Nude (M.683).

10.  Pall Mall
Whistler considered the Pall Mall Magazine an ugly publication, and the page size was too small for his lithographs; see also JW to D. C. Thomson, #08246.

11.  Mr Astor
William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), diplomat and writer [more].

12.  Mrs Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].