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Punch, Or the London Charivari, Volume 102, April 16, 1892   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 102

APRIL 16, 1892

WRESTLING WITH WHISTLERS.

(A REMINISCENCE OF A RECENT EXHIBITION.)

SCENE The Goupil Gallery. Groups of more or less puzzled Britons discovered, conscientiously endeavouring to do justice to the Collection, having realised that Mr. WHISTLER's work is now considered entitled to serious consideration, but feeling themselves unable to get beyond a timid tolerance. In addition to these, there are Frank Philistines who are here with a fixed intention of being funny, Matrons with a strongly domesticated taste in Art, Serious Elderly Ladies, Literal Persons, &c., &c.

A Lady ( after looking at a representation of Old Battersea Bridge in the tone of a person who feels she is making a liberal concession ). Well, do you know, I must say that isn't so bad. I shouldn't so much mind having that in the room, should you?

[Illustration: A Brother Brush.]

Her Companion ( dubiously ). Well, I don't know. He's put a steamer in. Should you think there were steamers in a ( vaguely ) those days?

First Lady ( evidently considering Mr. WHISTLER capable of any eccentricity ). Oh, I don't suppose he would mind that much.

First Literal Person ( coming to the portrait of Miss ALEXANDER ). Well ( plaintively ) he might have put a nicer expression on the child!

Second Do. Do. Yes very unpleasing. ( Refers to Catalogue. ) Oh, I see it says "It is simply a disagreeable presentment of a disagreeable young lady."

First Do. Do. ( rejoicing that the painter has vindicated himself this time ). Ah that explains it, then. Of course if he meant it !

A Serious Elderly Lady. There's one thing I must say I do like, my dear, and that's the way he puts down all the unfavourable criticisms on his pictures. So straightforward and honest of him, I call it.

Her Companion. Yes, but I expect he can't help seeing how right and sensible the critics are, you know. Still ( charitably ) it shows he would do better if he could !

An Advanced Nephew ( who is endeavouring to convert a Philistine Uncle to the superiority of the Modern School ). Now here, Uncle, look at this. Look at the way the figure looms out of the canvas, look at the learning in the simple sweep of the drapery, the drawing of it, and the masterly grace of the pose you don't mean to tell me you don't call that a magnificent portrait?

His Uncle. Who's it of? That's what I want to know first.

Nephew ( coldly ). You will find it in the Catalogue, no doubt No. 41.

Uncle ( looking it up ). " Arrangement in Black. La Dame au Brodequin Jaune. " the lady in a yellow something or other. Tchah! And not a word to tell you who she's supposed to be ? If I pay a shilling for a Catalogue, I expect to find information in it. And let me ask you where's the interest in looking at a portrait when you're not told who it's intended for?

[ The Nephew, not being prepared to answer this difficult query, leads his relative gently up to a "Nocturne in Opal and Silver." The Uncle conveys his opinion of it by a loud and expressive snort.

First Prosaic Person ( before No. 28 ). Valparaiso, is it? ( Hopefully. ) Well, come, I ought to recognise this I've been there often enough. ( Inspecting it closely. ) Ha um!

Second P.P. ( with languid interest ). Is it like ?

First P.P. I could tell you better if he'd done it by daylight. I can't make out this in the front looks to me like the top of a house , or something. Don't remember that .

Second P.P. I think it's meant for a jetty, landing stage, or that sort of thing, and, when you look into it, there's something that seems intended for people most extraordinary, isn't it?

The Domesticated Matron ( who is searching for a picture with a subject to it ). There, CAROLINE, it's evidently a harbour , you see, and ships, and they're letting off fireworks probably for a regatta, Does it tell you what it is in the Catalogue?

Caroline ( after consulting it )... Continue reading book >>


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