UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: Contemporary Review (London)
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 06632
Date: [3 November 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Lyme Regis]
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W626
Document Type: ALS


Here is Sargent's[3] letter, Chinkie -

It would be a great affair if they really did get the Peacock Room[4] over to America would n't it! - But how appalling! if they were to put it about in bits! and line it up against the wall! - like an old Brittany bedstead done into a screen! -

Of all terrible things especially to propose [p. 2] that it should be sampled round in scraps in the "Bates Hall"! - Isn't that the huge room or Gallery where I am to do the panel[5]? . -

Certainly Mrs. Jack[6] is a most dangerous busy body - - However I dare say all that can be managed easily enough, if any thing ever comes of the proposal - though Stanford White[7] who saw the room with Sargent - & who wrote to me about it - Did you see his letter? I think so -

Well you must be filled with curiosity about what I was telling you when the Bus rushed off and the little early note had to go any how -

[p. 3] This is it then, - and most important I think it in its effect upon the trial - Thomson[8] was telling us of Sir Williams[9] gabbling to him in the galleries (Goupils) and doing his best to make out that he was greatly triumphant -

He said that every body had congratulated him upon the verdict. - except . . . Mr. Thomson! . . . etc . . . and then in the midst of it Mr Thomson said to him that he would buy the little portrait of Lady Eden[10] when Sir William gets it, and give him two hundred pounds for it - Sir William Eden refused saying that it is worth more[11]!! - which is the whole gist of the matter! - and the whole trial turns upon it - Thomson went to £250! - which the Baronet still refused! - Of course Monsieur le President[12] shall be told of this - and indeed I will get Webb to come and meet little Thomson and make him tell the story or rather make this statement to him, so then it can be handed in in writing if necessary -

Here is the letter from the little Madame de Courière[13] - You see that [p. 4] Wobbles has called upon her in the role of the "beaufrère[14]"! - So what do you think of that. - Bunnie[15] has been very nice & written & done all sorts of things that I have wanted - & by the way I had only just written about the hats - & you tell me they have already come! - Have they been beautifully done up? - That's what I wanted - Mrs. Nellie[16] sends you the tailors address - mine was a post card too - thought it best - woundn't have to write any thing. - The Violets & rosebuds come to you from Miles[17]! - She is most attentive and greatly pleased at sending Madam these flowers - A propos you never have yet said who the Lady Trevellian[18] is or how you come to know her?

Yes Thomson is enchanted with the promise of a small exhibition next March - which I think very possible - if any thing can be shown any where - You shall judge - & certainly I will not send any thing to the Grafton - The light is shocking! & disastrous

What a conceited ass Dumaurier[19] to write! Yes Clement Scott[20] married Dumauriers sister[21] - but she is dead long ago! If you have seen a Mrs. Scott[22] she must be a second wife -

I suppose Tree[23] has seen Webb[24] in with Dumaurier and the rest of them! I daresay he chums about with him too! How fond Webb is of success! -

Chinkie my own dear darling! tell me are n't you sleeping well & eating just now as you did a while ago? - You gave me such nice accounts of the Wam! - & how old Kennedy[25] said she was looking like her own self! -

I must write Kennedy a nice letter - to make up for the bullying - We may not like him as I tell you but he must get us well dear Chinkie! -

The trial will not come off the little woman[26] says she believes this year - she meant until after January - & possibly if necessary we might get it put off still further - However that is what she means now -

Little Brown[27] comes tomorrow about the Lithograph show!!

Good night my own dear Luck - Did you see little prayer in the last letter.

Always he says that prayer that she may have blessed nights - to get well soon -

[butterfly signature]


This document is protected by copyright.


Envelope:

To
Mrs. J. McNeill Whistler -
Garlants Hotel -
Suffolk Street
Pall Mall
London
[stamp:] POSTAGE AND INLAND REVENUE / ONE PENNY
[postmark:] LYME·REGIS / B / NO 3 / 95


Notes:

1.  [3 November 1895]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], was seriously ill with cancer.

3.  Sargent's
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more]; see his letter to JW, 1 November 1895, #05390.

4.  Peacock Room
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178); it was not erected in Boston, but eventually bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

5.  panel
The commission for a panel for Boston Public Library was cancelled, since JW had not presented a design; see Study for Three Decorative Panels Representing 'The Landing of Columbus', 'Queen Isabel la Católica of Spain' and 'Queen Elizabeth of England' (YMSM 396).

6.  Mrs. Jack
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), née Stewart, collector [more].

7.  Stanford White
Stanford White (1853-1906), architect [more].

8.  Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

9.  Sir Williams
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more].

10.  Lady Eden
Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408).

11.  more
Double underlined.

12.  Monsieur le President
JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), started on 14 February 1894, when, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a 'Valentine', a cheque for 100 guineas. JW thought this inadequate, and said that the work was incomplete and he was dissatisfied with it. He refused to hand over the portrait, on the grounds that it was the artist's right to withhold a picture in such circumstances. When Eden instituted legal proceedings in November 1894 in order to retrieve the portrait, JW returned all monies that had been paid to him. The Eden v. Whistler trial opened at the Civil Tribunal on 6 March 1895. The verdict on 13 March went against JW, who appealed to the Cour de Cassation. The appeal opened on 17 November 1897, and on 2 December JW won his case and was permitted to keep the picture provided that he did not 'make use of it, public or private'. JW published his account of the affair in Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. In a final appeal in April 1900 Eden was ordered to pay all expenses.

13.  Madame de Courière
Mme de Courrière, possibly a neighbour, servant or concierge at 110 Rue du Bac.

14.  beaufrère
Fr., brother-in-law.

15.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

16.  Mrs. Nellie
Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917), née Ellen Ionides, JW's sister-in-law [more].

17.  Miles
Not identified.

18.  Lady Trevellian
Possibly a relation of Sir George Otto Trevelyan (1838-1928), historian and cabinet minister [more].

19.  Dumaurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more].

20.  Clement Scott
Clement William Scott (1841-1904), art and drama critic [more].

21.  Dumauriers sister
Isabella (Isabel) Louise Clement Scott (m. 1868), née Du Maurier. 'Dumauriers sister ... wife' is written at the top of p. 1; 'I suppose ... you gave me' in the left margin, and 'such nice ...own self!-' in the right margin of p. 1; 'I must write ... dear Chinkie!-' in the left margin of p. 4; 'The trial ... However that' in the left margin of p. 3; 'is what she means ...show!!' in the left margin, and the remainder in the right margin of p. 2. All, except for 'Dumaurier's sister ... wife', were written at right angles to the main text.

22.  Tree
Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917), actor-manager [more]; he had seen the New York version of Du Maurier's Trilby and acquired the rights to perform it, proposing to take the part of Svengali. In October 1895 it was performed in Manchester and opened at the Haymarket at the end of the month. Dorothea Baird played 'Trilby'; the opening night was a success. Du Maurier was not at all well at this time.

23.  Mrs. Scott
Margaret Scott, second wife of C. W. Scott.

24.  Webb
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more].

25.  Kennedy
Dr Samuel Kennedy (b. ca 1848), surgeon.

26.  little woman
Not identified. It is not clear if this concerns JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). The Eden v. Whistler trial opened at the Civil Tribunal on 6 March 1895. The verdict on 13 March went against JW, who appealed to the Cour de Cassation. The appeal opened on 17 November 1897, and on 2 December JW won his case. JW published his account of the affair in Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

27.  Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more]. They were planning Mr Whistler's Lithographs, The Fine Art Society, London, 1895.