The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: press, letters published in
Record 8 of 141

System Number: 11383
Date: 3 and 10 July 1878[1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PN and PLS[3]



JULY 3, 1878.

THE "Season Number" of Vanity Fair contains . . . Mr. Whistler's etching of "St. James's Street"[4] is sadly disappointing.



JULY 10, 1878.

DEAR World, -

Atlas, overburdened with the world and its sins, may well be relieved from the weight of one wee error - a sort of last straw that bothers his back. The impression in Vanity Fair that disappoints him is not an etching at all, but a reproduction for that paper by some transfer process[5].

Atlas has the wisdom of ages, and need not grieve himself with mere matters of art. "Il n'est pas nécessaire[6] que vous sachiez ces choses-là, mon révérend père!"

[butterfly signature]


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1.  3 and 10 July 1878
Dated from publication in the World (see note below).

2.  PN and PLS
The full note concerning the etching was originally published in Yates' 'What the World Says' column in the World on 3 July 1878. JW reproduced this extract from it in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 46. It was followed by his letter to Atlas of 10 July. With regard to capitalistion, the note and the letter are transcribed as they appear in the Gentle Art of Making Enemies.

3.  Edmund Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more].

4.  'St. James's Street'
The etching St. James's Street (K.169a) was published in reverse in Vanity Fair, vol. 22, 2 July 1878.

5.  some transfer process
The etching was published using a lithographic transfer process, hence JW's denial that it was an etching is understandable.

6.  Il n'est pas nécessaire ... père
Fr., It is not necessary that you should know these things, my reverend father!