The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 99th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1867
Record 1 of 12

System Number: 06526
Date: 25 November [1865][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: [Coblenz, Germany]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W520
Document Type: ALS

Saturday Nov 25th

Jemie darling I'll just cover Willie's[3] with a few lines of advice to you & tell you my own experience that letters received at my 9 ocl breakfast give an appetite & spirit of thankfulness, try dear to be at yours when Posties [sic] rap-tap sounds. precious indeed is the light of day to you now. I cannot tell you how intense is my anxiety about your finishing the Sofa[4]! George[5] talked in the nicest way, about your success last evening to me; he admires your little White Girl (Potters)[6] and was glad to hear of your last sea views[7] (Annie[8] having described them to me in a letter I recd yesterday) I hope you may add to the Sofa as many beautiful touches as you did to the little white girl & that Houth[9] [sic] may be so charmed he may add more of Whistlers to his own collection, I shall have sight by Gods continued blessing on Dr Meurrens[10] [sic] skill to enjoy my dear naughty Jemie's progress & I hope success. Oh if you could be favored with the bright days we are yet enjoying here[.] I hear Miss Erner's[11] Cuckoo Clock now eleven call, so I have to close this as she comes to put the salve in my eyes[,] it makes them weep a half hour night & morning, Julia[12] brought me four Canns [sic] of Peaches I am so glad to have them to present to Miss Erner[.] George says he will send me American Oysters when his supply arrives. I cannot tell you how kind they both are to me. George is hoping supplies from Balt[imore] may tempt Julia's appetite, she has no relish for any thing & cannot sleep. It will only be by her own exertion that she may ever be better I am sure & I must try tenderly to impress this truth on her conviction. How much we all have in our power for our own well or woe! We are indeed free agents[.] God waits to bless us if we will let Him & look to Him for help to overcome error, I think every time I go to Church & now I do regularly twice each Sunday - if my dear boys would only go even once a day they would hear what would exactly suit their case & thus be prompted to duty.

[p. 2] Offer my regards at Holland Park[13], love to Mrs Smith[14] & to Cousin M Ironsides[15]. Jemie dear when you can make it convenient your good Sarah[16] no doubt will be in want of £1.10 due her on 18th[,] say to the servants, I do not forget them, they will be glad to hear of my health so good & sight improving[.] Do not be indignant at your fond mothers sometimes expressing the anxiety she feels unceasingly about her boys late hours! you were wont to say to me before dear Willie left the army[17] you wished he would that he might study the science of medicine & rise in his profession[,] if I did not know his artistry I'd let him sleep on; but he is gifted in talent as you are, so you must not entice him to indulge in your luxurious studio, he ought to read & to visit hospitals & c. Get up yourself & induce him to join you at a good breakfast. I listen to news from the Standard the Times & the Saturday Review recd by my fellow lodgers regularly. With love to Sis[18] I am going to take my second walk today. [p. 3] Willie must write for you both to your fond


To Jemie

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1.  25 November [1865]
Dated from the references to AMW's health. She was treated for an eye condition in Coblentz during the winter of 1865-1866. She had been escorted there in September by her sons. AMW suffered from chronic eye problems; see AMW to JW, 17 August and 16 September 1857, #06487.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  Willie's
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

4.  Sofa
Probably a reference to Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61). JW started sketching the painting in August 1865, and finished it in 1867. It was exhibited in the 99th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1867.

5.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

6.  White Girl (Potters)
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more]. As well as Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), Potter owned Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41) and later Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf (YMSM 54) and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115).

7.  sea views
Probably the seascapes painted by JW in Trouville, France between October and November 1865. These included Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64), Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 66) and Trouville (YMSM 70).

8.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

9.  Houth
Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more]. Huth went on to acquire other works by JW: Venus Rising from the Sea (YMSM 93), Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea (YMSM 105), Arrangement in Black, No. 2: Portrait of Mrs Louis Huth (YMSM 125).

10.  Dr Meurrens
Dr Meurens, occulist at Koblenz.

11.  Miss Erner's
Miss Erner, AMW's nurse at Coblenz.

12.  Julia
Julia de Kay Whistler (1825-1875), née Winans, JW's sister-in-law [more].

13.  Holland Park
A reference to Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more]. and Euterpe Ionides (1816-1892), née Sgouta, wife of A. C. Ionides [more], who lived at 1 Holland Park, Notting Hill, Kensington, London; see JW to Fantin-Latour, #11474, and Kelly's Post Office Directory, London, 1865, p. 430.

14.  Mrs Smith
Smith, possibly a lawyer.

15.  Cousin M Ironsides
Mary Ironsides (1826-1884), née Swift, JW's cousin [more]. She was apparently on a visit to the UK; see AMW to JW, 27 April 1857, #06483.

16.  Sarah
A servant.

17.  army
W. McN. Whistler had been an assistant surgeon in the Confederate Army. He left in April 1865 in the aftermath of the American Civil War and settled in London.

18.  Sis
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].