To William Powell Frith, 6 March 1871

ALS to William Powell Frith, artist and lifelong friend. Single sheet of laid paper 177x225mm watermarked ORIGINAL/TURKEY MILL 1870 folded, integral blank. Stain on fold not affecting text, wax seal remains on reverse. Dated [Monday] 6 March 1871.

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins II 242

[90, Gloucester Place,
Portman Square. W.]

6th March 1871

My dear Frith, 
On Tuesday the 
14th at 7 sharp 
with the greatest 

No "dress" on 
Saturday 11th
mind !

Yrs ever W.C


William Powell Frith RA (1819-1909) popular Victorian artist best known for Derby Day and Ramsgate Sands. A lifelong friend of Wilkie, though there is remarkably little about Wilkie in Frith's three volume Autobiography and Reminiscences where he describes Collins as a man who "is as delightful in private as he is in admirable raconteur...of an impeturbably good temper". Once at dinner a guest declared that "popularity is no proof of merit, said to Collins, by way of example: 'Why your novels are read in every back-kitchen in England.' This Collins heard without a sign of irritation."

Wilkie was at this time embarking on Poor Miss Finch which began serialisation on 2 September 1871 in Cassell's Magazine. This short note reminds us that Wilkie insisted on his guests not dressing up when they visited him for dinner.

All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997-2005