Once a week I’m down at the Freer-Sackler Galleries, two museums under the Smithsonian umbrella, which operate together as our nation’s Asian art gallery. It also houses some of the best Whistler and Tyron paintings around.

La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (The Princess from the Land of Porcelain)
James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903)
Gift of Charles Lang Freer

I am usually found in the archives working on whatever project I’m given. Sometimes projects last a day- sometimes months. The last project I completed in a day was simple, but ridiculously fun.
I was asked to look through the “Freer Files.” Shelves of files belonging to Charles L. Freer when he was alive one hundred years ago. I was looking for purchase orders for art (The art now housed in the museum). One seller I kept coming across was Bunkio Matsuki a Japanese buyer who seemed to know exactly what Freer wanted. His invoice headers changed frequently, but usually contained a rabbit. I came across this near the end of my search, sent some time in 1911 from Japan- what an adorable receipt! Would that such art still came on our receipts!

(Click on the image for a MUCH bigger picture of this)

Can I just say- I adore the handwriting they used back then, but I can’t read most of it to save my soul! Can you imagine how long it would take to write a letter pen-and-ink style like this? Crazy!