The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1878
Record 5 of 11

System Number: 08736
Date: 9 September 1878
Author: Edward William Godwin[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 4/11
Document Type: ALS

'Most important statement[2]

Godwin . re Nightingale'

[butterfly signature]

'9 Sept 1878'[3]


[p. 2] Mr Whistlers house & Studio[4] Tite Street Chelsea.

Amount of Contract. £1910 -    
Additions     920 - 5-   2830 -  5 - 0
  Less deduction     103 - 12 - 8
    £2726 - 12 - 4
  Certificates to Aug 12. 1878   2660 -  0 - 0
  Balance £    66 - 12 - 4


My dear Whistler -

The above is the final statement of account with the delivery of which my professional duties cease. I hope you will make comfortable arrangements with Webb[5], so that no more expenses may be incurred than what are absolutely necessary. It has distressed me to find that the Contract should have been so much exceeded but then of course you have greater accomodation [sic] & more fittings than was we contemplated when you have completed your internal painting & have put one or two of those final touches that used to be such eye openers to Watt[6] I have little doubt that you would be able to sell the house for £3,000[.] Not perhaps as house property from the point of view Mr. G. Webb takes but as a house plus a work of art of the original Whistler &

yours very sincerely

E W Godwin

You no doubt have seen that a princess possesses our mantelpiece[7] of the Paris Exhibition

8 Victoria Chambers S. W.

Sept. 9. 78

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

2.  Most important statement ... Sept 1878
Note written in JW's hand. The calculations below it seem also to be in JW's hand. 'Nightingale' was Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (b. 1838), builder [more] of the White House (see note below). JW probably made this note for his bankruptcy proceedings.

3.  '9 Sept 1878'
Added in corner of page.

4.  house & Studio
The White House, JW's new studio house at Tite Street. JW was in financial difficulty over the final cost of its construction which had far exceeded the original estimate. In addition, Nightingale was becoming impatient for the matter to be settled (see G. & W. Webb to JW, #08735).

5.  Webb
Probably George Webb (b. ca 1835), of G. and W. Webb. lawyer [more].

6.  eye openers to Watt
Godwin is probably referring to the butterflies and Japanese cloud motifs that JW painted on the doors and central section of Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Butterfly Cabinet (YMSM 195) (see note below). 'Watt' was William Watt (d. 1885), of William Watt and Co., art furniture makers [more].

7.  mantelpiece
This was Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Butterfly Cabinet (YMSM 195), a fireplace with shelves above designed by Godwin and decorated by JW in March 1878. It was exhibited at the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1878 at Watt's stand.