The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 17 of 92

System Number: 09038
Date: 15 January [1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: St Ives
Recipient: James Alfred Chapman[2]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Document Type: ALS


Dear Jack -

I have a proposal to make -

I want two hundred pounds -

Now if you will lend me this sum and send me a cheque at once, I will paint you a full length portrait of your wife[4] directly you come up to town - that is of course if Mrs. Chapman were pleased with the prospect of being handed down to posterity as a Harmony? -

On the other hand if you are not prepared for the picture making its way into your [p. 2] house at present, I would pay you back the £200 by the end of the Season, after my exhibition[5] -

For I have another game 'Amazing'! coming off shortly that will be as successful as the Pastels[6]! - and bring lots of money as that did - this time, oil paintings[7] - little beauties - you will be delighted I know -

Write to me at once to Tite Street as usual for I leave here directly having exhausted the ocean!! -

Yours always
With the best wishes and compliments of the Season to yourself & Mrs. Chapman

J McN Whistler

You never answered my note asking for the Nocturne[8] again! Of course it was bold and hardy on my part I know but I did want the people abroad to see these things - however it doesn't matter now - but do say how you like the new frame - and if you are pleased with the picture being returned -

[butterfly signature]

St Ives - Cornwall -

Jan 15 -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  15 January [1884]
Dated by address. JW spent January 1884 at St Ives in Cornwall working with Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more], and Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more].

2.  James Alfred Chapman
Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), engineer and collector [more].

3.  7
Written in another hand.

4.  your wife
Mrs Alfred Chapman, wife of the collector [more]. JW did not paint her.

5.  my exhibition
'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.

6.  the Pastels
Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 1881.

7.  oil paintings
JW painted many small scale works in oil in and around St Ives, such as The Angry Sea (YMSM 282) (see also YMSM 263-288). Many of them were exhibited in 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884.

8.  my note asking for the Nocturne
Not located. However, JW is probably referring to Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Bognor (YMSM 100) which had recently been exhibited at 7th Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1883.