The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Document associated with: 65th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1895-1896
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 06649
Date: [28 November 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Lyme Regis
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W643
Document Type: ALS

As I told you this morning Wink, poor Mortimer[3] seems to have had rather a cold time of it with this spoil he meandered back from Wuerpel[4]'s country with! - dont you think so? -

Dear me! when are we going to write to the good kind Wuerpel! - Well when I am sitting by you in a day or two! we will get off a whole batch of letters! wont we Chinkie - and that reminds me [p. 2] if I am to wire to the Philadelphia people about Eddys portrait[5], I had better have back their letter at once - Ask the Major[6] to send it to me tomorrow - By the way, à propos of Philadelphia, I wonder what the Lady Archie[7] has been about with her photograph and her book of Beauties? - does Webb[8] say anything about her? - Of course directly she got what she wanted we hear no more of her! -

Chinkie Wink I wanted to tell you that I [p. 3][9] didn't really mean to tease you about the Bhürles[10]!. - certainly not to grieve his own darling Wam! - It was only his fun - bad fun! - and he is really very pleased about the Tanagra figures[11] - so you might say something nice to the gentleman from the Alps so that he needn't get suspicious about his step! - and thats all right! - isn't it Wink! - And I dont forget for I have talked to old Grove[12] again about the dog for [p. 4] Cecil[13], & he told [me] the other evening that he has one ready for him - quite young he says so that he can begin at the beginning with him - and a beauty Grove says - So that the saxpenny Grinder[14] doesn't really mean so badly after all! -

Well you will see the pictures[15] directly great Jury Lady! - and I wonder if you will say that all this is an illusion of the wild Grinder - or whether she will see in them what Burne Jones called long ago "much promise"[16]! ?

Well the Lord knows I should be only too happy if that were your verdict[17]! For you know that really he is a very mild & gentle & humble Grinder! and it is only at odd times that he makes little poems & Arabian nights[18] stories about Sprite Gentlemen, to please his dear Sweetheart Wam!

Sometimes I remember poor Böehm[19] who said "I dont work, I labour"! - But that will be all right directly wont it Chinkie?

And a beautiful night for his Darling! & the little prayers - & God bless the Sweet Wam & her good Grinder

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs J. McNeill Whistler -
8. Half Moon Street.
[postmark:] LYME REGIS / D / NO28 / 95
[postmark on verso:] LON[DON] W. / C 7 / NO29 / 95


1.  [28 November 1895]
Dated from the postmark. This is one of a sequence of letters from Lyme Regis: the previous day's letter is #06648, and the following day's, #06650.

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. JW also refers to her as 'Wink', 'Chinkie' and 'Wam', and to them both as the 'Wams'. She was suffering from cancer, and had recently returned from Lyme Regis to London to be cared for by her sisters.

3.  Mortimer
Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1860-1938), artist [more].

4.  Wuerpel
Edmund Henry Wuerpel (1866-1958), artist and teacher [more].

5.  philadelphia people about Eddy's portrait
Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Brown: Portrait of Arthur J. Eddy (YMSM 425). Eddy had hoped that it could be lent to the 65th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1895-96, but in the end it was not exhibited there until 1904.

6.  Major
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

7.  Lady Archie
Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more]. She had asked for a photograph of Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) to illustrate her Book of Beauty.

8.  Webb
George or William Webb, JW's lawyers.

9.  [p. 3]
This page is actually numbered '(2.)' at the top, although it is the third side of text.

10.  Bhürles
This word is not entirely clear, but it appears that they had disagreed about some porcelain figurines.

11.  Tanagra figures
JW was helping to sell some Tanagra figurines for Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more]. Emil Heilbut (1861-1921), painter [more] agreed to help (his letter to JW, 22 July 1894, #02071; see Sketch (M.1418)).

12.  old grove
John Grove (b. ca 1836), landlord of the Royal Lion Hotel, Lyme Regis [more]. JW drew a lithograph of him, John Grove (C.126), and painted him as The Master Smith of Lyme Regis (YMSM 450).

13.  cecil
Cecil Constant Philip Lawson (b. 1880), JW's nephew [more]. JW drew the dog: Cicie's dog, Winks (M.1449); see #06651.

14.  saxpenny Grinder
JW suggests that he is a hard-working knife grinder doing jobs for sixpence a time.

15.  pictures
JW's work in Lyme Regis included town-scapes such as The Little Forge, Lyme Regis (YMSM 442) and portraits including The Little Rose of Lyme Regis (YMSM 449).

16.  Burne Jones
Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898), painter and designer [more].

17.  if that were your verdict
The letter is written on all four sides of two small cards, and 'if that were ... you know' was written sideways in the margin on p. 4; 'that really he ... only at' in margins on p. 3; 'odd times ... Sweetheart Wam!' likewise on p. 2, and 'Sometimes ... [butterfly signature]' likewise on p. 1.

18.  Arabian nights
Arabian Nights Entertainments, which was popular in various translations.

19.  Boehm
Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more].