E. and Mme de Soye were the proprietors of the Porte Chinoise in Paris.
In 1863 E. de Soye, who had spent some time in Japan, opened a shop with his wife at 220 rue de Rivoli dealing in Oriental commodities. It was called La Porte Chinoise. Many artists and writers including Edouard Manet, James Tissot, Henri Fantin-Latour, the Goncourt brothers, Theodore Duret, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and JW frequented it. JW bought porcelain, prints, screens, fans and textiles there, many of which were later included in his paintings, for example in Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56). There was a degree of rivalry concerning who could pick up the best objects. Rossetti noted in a letter of 1864 that Tissot had been in and snapped up all the kimonos. In a letter of 1864 JW requested that Fantin-Latour ask the De Soyes to set aside Japanese garments especially for him (#08037).
Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Doughty, Oswald, and John Robert Wahl (eds), The Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 vols, Oxford, 1865-67; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980.