Fair-hand copy of “Mr. Whistler’s Ten O’Clock” lecture of February 20,1885; stamped twice with Whistler’s butterfly monogram

citation

53 pages, rectos only (including autograph title-page) in black ink. Bound in green buckram, marbled endpapers; some wear at spine ends and edges.

Maker(s)
Author: James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903)
Artist: Copyist Unidentified
Historical period(s)
1888
Medium
Ink on paper; buckram binding with marblized endpapers
Dimensions
H x W x D (closed): 20.2 × 16.6 × 1.4 cm (7 15/16 × 6 9/16 × 9/16 in)
Geography
England, London
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
FSC-MS-46
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript

Keywords
copy, England
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

James W. Sherwood III American, 1936 - 2014

Description

53 pages, rectos only (including autograph title-page) in black ink. Bound in green buckram, marbled endpapers; some wear at spine ends and edges.

Marking(s)

Stamped twice with Whistler's buttefly monogram

Label

This autograph fair copy of Whistler's renowned aesthetic manifesto was used by the publisher Chatto and Windus to set and print the first edition in 1888. It includes a title page by Whistler with the butterfly monogram, demonstrating how the artist wanted the cover and title-page laid out. A second butterfly appears at the conclusion of the text. After the pamphlet appeared, it was almost immediately translated in to French by Mallarmé as Le Ten O'Clock. It was collected in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies in 1892.
Highly epigrammatic, the lecture represents Whistler's most comprehensive--and most frequently cited-- articulation of his aestheticist conviction that beauty should not be "confounded with virtue" and that art exists in a realm altogether separate from its social or cultural context. Inestimably important to Whistler studies, the "Ten O'Clock" is also a canonical text of the Aesthetic movement generally and was a foundational document for the French Symbolists.
Although Whistler was surprisingly nervous when he began the talk claiming that "it is with great hesitation and much misgiving that I appear before you, in the character of -- The Preacher,"--he soon found his footing. The lecture was well received by its London audience and was widely and favorably reviewed in the press the next day, despite the fact that a secondary aim of the lecture was to annihilate Whistler's nemesis John Ruskin and deflate his acolyte Oscar Wilde.

Collection Area(s)
American Art
Rights Statement
Copyright with museum