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
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 public...an 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.