The Lamp of Truth

    Whistler vs. Ruskin
In the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Westminster
Monday, 25 November 1878


“I shall endeavour to persuade the court that Mr. Ruskin’s words were absolutely calculated to discredit Mr. Whistler as an artist, and I might add, parenthetical to the action, as a gentleman. Mr. Ruskin, in his monthly magazine, Fors Clavigera, dated July 1877, stated the following: ‘I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.’ ”

At ten-thirty in the morning the room was stifling with coal-stoked heat and overpopulation. The legal teams of plaintiff and defendant in the action were numerous in themselves, and scores of followers of each camp had squeezed in behind them, leaving a small throng unseated in the corridor. With every chair and bench inside the courtroom filled, many were standing in any available and otherwise unoccupied territory.

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