UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Burlington Fine Arts Club
Record 29 of 132

System Number: 00401
Date: 25 June [1867][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: William Boxall and Louis Huth[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B178
Document Type: ALS


2 Lindsey Row
Old Chelsea

Tuesday June 25

Gentlemen -

My position with reference to the Burlington Club[3] is simply this:

For some time back the members of the Committee have been accepting continual relays of information[4] and collecting documents which, as I now find involve even enclosures from utter strangers on my personal affairs! - And yet at an advanced stage of this elaborate system, the first notification which I[5] recieve, [sic] actually [p. 2] takes the form of an unmodified request to withdraw from the club at the risk of expulsion!! - Accompanied by the book of rules coarsely scored at the one bearing on their threat - and terminating the matter - how?... by an offer to return my money at the door!! -

Can it be possible that the gentlemen whose names I see on the committee list, would themselves, submit to such a form of demand?

A negative answer to this must prove fatal in each mind to the whole course of action[6]. -

[p. 3] The application then is tantamount to an admission that their body includes one who is not of their order, and to whom the conception and compassing of such proceedings must be solely attributable! -

You, Gentlemen, on thinking for a moment what would be your own course of action at such a time, must percieve [sic] that, in its present form, I am debarred from entertaining the question at all! -

I have, Gentlemen
the honour to be
Very respectfully Yours

J. A. M. Whistler

W. Boxall Esq R.A.
Louis Huth Esq.


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Notes:

1.  25 June [1867]
Year date from day of week and recipient.

2.  William Boxall and Louis Huth
William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more]; and Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more]. The Minutes of the Burlington Fine Arts Club Committee meeting on 28 June 1867 record: 'Mr Haden having retired the letter of Mr Whistler to Messrs Boxall & Huth was read to the Committee, and copy of Mr Fishers letter of 27 June to Mr Boxall was read to the Committee.' (V&A, NAL 86. KK. 11).

3.  Burlington Club
The Burlington Fine Arts Club was a club for artists and connoisseurs. It was founded early in 1866 and located at 177, Piccadilly. JW was elected a member on 12 March 1867 (see Minutes of the Burlington Fine Arts Club). The Committee included Ralph Nicholson Wornum (1812-1877), history painter [more] (Secretary) and Vittorio Emanuelle Taparelli (1816-1890), Marquis D'Azeglio, Sardinian Ambassador and collector [more] (President).

4.  information
In April 1867, JW quarrelled with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], over his treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer died on a trip to Paris on 23 April of alcohol related causes. Haden arranged for Traer's burial with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. Haden later claimed that in the resulting confrontation in a Paris café, JW had pushed him through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club and in the aftermath of the Traer affair Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded, having brought to its attention several alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (JW to L. Huth, 18 December 1867, #02240).

5.  I
Double underlined

6.  course of action
On 11 June, JW had received a request from Ralph Nicholson Wornum (1812-1877), history painter [more], for his resignation from the Club on the threat of expulsion (see R. N. Wornum to JW, 11 June 1867, #10442).