Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, American painter and etcher (1834-1903). Autograph letter written in ink, with two pencil sketches, signed with his butterfly monogram.

N. p., [probably early 1877].

8vo. 3 pp. on bifolium.


To "my dear Black": "Noch nicht! noch nicht! my dear Black! I am a little behind hand - curious aint it! That confounded Peacock Room has nearly ruined me and I have had to work frightfully to make up for it. It will be all right directly of course but I am woefully pushed.

Beseech HRH to be indulgent and appoint some day next week - say Saturday or Friday afternoon at about 5 'o'clock and I will try to be ready for her and shall be so enchanted to see her interest in what I have been doing - I think you will like the pictures - manage this my dear Black for your [xxx] [Whistler's butterfly monogram]. Just write a line to say it is all right".

The letter discusses a proposed visit from Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of the Marquis of Lorne. The Princess was herself an artist - a sculptor of note - and Whistler's correspondence indicates she took a keen interest in his work. The two pencil sketches appear to have been drawn before the letter was written. If they are by Whistler, we can assume that they have something to do with a commission he was working on for Princess Louise. The drawings seem to be preliminary sketches for a crest, which features a dog and crossed swords.

The stupendously opulent and beautiful Peacock Room was painted by James A. McNeill Whistler during late 1876 and early 1877. The entire room is decorated in oil colour and gold on wood, leather and canvas, its Orientalist theme crowned by Whistler's painting The Princess from the Land of Porcelain. The Peacock Room is now installed in the Freer Gallery of Art (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington D.C., but was originally designed for use as the dining room in the London residence of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy English shipping magnate. In 1904, after the house had changed hands, the American Charles L. Freer, founder of the Freer Gallery of Art, was able to purchase the contents of the room, have it dismantled and shipped to his home in Detroit, where it was installed in an addition to his home in 1905. In 1919 it was once more dismantled and transported to its permanent location in the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Slightly stained.

Stock Code: BN#45562 Tag: