I was asked to give a speech at the Fine Art Society to mark the foundation of the Whistler Society. The reason I was asked was because he was never made an RA. Why ? He himself was keen. He started exhibiting his engravings in the annual exhibition in 1859. This was how his work came to public notice. In 1864, he exhibited four works – The Scarf, Old Battersea Bridge, The Golden Screen and The little White Girl. He was sufficiently confident of his abilities to put himself forward as a candidate. But when, on 8 May 1866, six elections were held, Whistler received not a single vote. Why ? Too cocky ? Too American ? Wrong style of painting ? He wrote to complain. His biographer says that ‘to the day of his death he would have accepted membership’.