The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Ten O'Clock Lecture, publication
Record 21 of 71

System Number: 11424
Date: 31 March 1888[1]
Author: [Marion Henry Spielman?][2]
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Thomas Stead[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PLc[4]

March 31, 1888.


SIR, -

Just three weeks after publication Mr. Whistler "finds himself obliged to notice the critical review of the 'Ten o'Clock' that appeared in your paper."[5] He points out that "what is still in the hands of the printer cannot possibly have fallen into the fingers of your incautious contributor." I do not pretend to be acquainted with the multitudinous matters that may be in the hands of his publishers' printers. But I can declare - and you, Sir, will corroborate me - that a printed copy of Mr. Whistler's smart but misleading lecture was placed in my hands for review, and, moreover, that the notice did not appear until the pamphlet was duly advertised by Messrs. Chatto and Windus[6] as ready. It is, of course, a matter of regret to me if, as Mr. Whistler suggests, his publishers' interests are likely to suffer from the review; but if [p. 2] an author's work, in the reviewer's opinion, be full of rash statement and mischievous doctrine, the publishers must submit to the risk of frank criticism. But it will be observed that Mr. Whistler is merely seeking to create an impression that your Reviewer never saw the work he criticized, which is surely not a creditable position to take up, even by a sensitive man writhing under adverse criticism. -

I am, Sir, most obediently,


This document is protected by copyright.


1.  31 March 1888
Date of publication in the Pall Mall Gazette.

2.  M. H. Spielman
JW apparently thought the reviewer was Marion Henry Alexander Spielmann (1858-1948), journalist and writer on art [more], but it might have been Walter Armstrong (1850-1918), art critic and gallery director [more].

3.  William Thomas Stead
William Thomas Stead (1849-1912), editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1883-1890, founder-editor of the Review of Reviews in 1890 [more].

4.  PLc
Published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 245-6.

5.  paper
Quoted from JW's letter, #10936.

6.  Messrs. Chatto and Windus
The London firm of publishers who published Whistler, James McNeill, Mr. Whistler's 'Ten O'clock', London, 1888.