James Tissot

James Tissot ALS Describing Works "Quiet" and "Good bye on the Mersey"

James Tissot ALS Describing 1881 Royal Academy Entries "Quiet" and "Good bye on the Mersey"


2pp ALS inscribed overall and signed by French Realist painter James Tissot (born Jacques Joseph Tissot) (1836-1902) as "James Tissot" at the center of the second page. Written at Tissot's home in the St. John's Wood section of northwest London on March 22, 1881. On watermarked cream stationery customized with his address and a rust-colored embossed "JLT" monogram at upper left. Expected wear including paper folds and overall toning, else very good to near fine. Mounting traces along right edge recto as well as verso. Each page measures 3.875" x 5.875".


This remarkable letter dating from the apogee of Tissot's artistic career describes in great detail two paintings, "Quiet" and "Good Bye on the Mersey." He submitted these paintings to London's Royal Academy of Arts later that year. (See attached catalog images to view these exact paintings, both now in private collections.) A foreign-born artist, Tissot had easily transitioned from the Parisian Salon to prestigious London galleries.


Translated in full:


"March 22, 1881




I count on sending 2 paintings to the academy.


1 "Quiet" a young girl and a small girl with their dog repose on a bank after having played in a garden in spring.


2 "Good Bye on the Mersey" the tug boat that transports travelers at the side of a steamer leaving for America detaches from the ship - all the friends who accompanied [them] wave their handkerchiefs and send their last "Good Bye"



nothing for Grosvenor Gall[ery]


Very sincerely


James Tissot."


"Quiet," the first painting Tissot described in his letter, depicted Kathleen Newton (1854-1882), the artist's mistress and frequent model, seated on an animal pelt next to her niece Lilian Hervey (b. 1875) and their black and white collie. It was painted under a tree in Tissot's garden at 17, Grove End Road (the same address listed on his stationery). After "Quiet" was purchased by Richard Donkin, M.P. (1836 – 1919), a British shipping executive and member of Parliament, it remained in his family's possession until the early 1990s. It sold at auction for $416,000 in 1993 (the equivalent of $732,000 in 2019 currency).


"Good Bye on the Mersey" depicts passengers saluting a departing steamship. The painting was reminiscent of scenes Tissot might have witnessed during his childhood in the port city of Nantes. It was also an homage to the development of transatlantic passenger service that would culminate in huge "floating palace" vessels like Titanic and Lusitania


Tissot's letter illustrates how completely he had infiltrated the London art scene just a decade after he relocated there from France in 1871. The Royal Academy of Arts, established in 1768, was a more conservative art venue than the newly opened Grosvenor Galleries. The latter, opened in 1877, typically welcomed avant-garde artists, such as the Pre-Raphaelites and Aesthetics. A few artists--such as James Tissot--could pass seamlessly between the exhibit spaces.


James Tissot, an extremely talented painter, illustrator, and printmaker, first exhibited at the Parisian Exposition des Beaux Arts in 1859. Tissot befriended Impressionists such as Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, James McNeill Whistler, and Seymour Haden, though he declined to exhibit with them professionally. Considered masterpieces of the Realist School, Tissot's works have brought over $1,000,000 at auction.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 66494

Price: $1,500.00
James TissotJames TissotJames TissotJames Tissot
James Tissot
James Tissot
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