The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Norman, Miss
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 13833
Date: 26 September 1902
Author: Rosalind Birnie Philip[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Charles Lang Freer[2]
Place: [Detroit?]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Philip
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: TLc

74 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea,

September 28th, 1902.

Dear Mr. Freer:

The wonderful box has come safely across the Atlantic, and we have looked at the treasures it contained.

I dont know how to thank you for it, and feel that such a beautiful bowl should not have been sent away from your care, especially when I read in your letter the heavy responsibilities imposed upon its possessor.

We have been back since September 6th and I should have written before but after our return Mr. Whistler, I am sorry to say, has not been so well. The intention was that he should come home for a few days and then go away to some nice place and rest. The journey seemed to upset him and the noise of the Ashbee building did not help him to get better, so the doctor has kept him in bed for the last week. He is better today and sends you all kinds of nice messages and thanks for the cuttings.

Our leavetaking from the Lange Voorhout was not satisfactory. The landlord wished the pension to be paid weekly and the rent of the rooms on leaving. We sent to him the evening before our departure and asked for his statement. It was not sent up until nearly 10 o'clock and then we discovered that it was quite different from our agreement, charging for 2 months rent at 160 guilden, instead of 120.

Mr. Ray[3] was called in that night, and next morning Miss Norman[4] and Mr. Ray assisted at a further interview. Miss Norman was most excellent in her defence of the position, but as none of us had thought of having the detailed statement signed, that we had made that afternoon in the room, there was nothing to be done. The man did not care about having a bad name for he was leaving the Hague and Mr. Ray discovered that he had run a house in Amsterdam on the same dishonorable lines.

The time is short and before closing I must tell you that Mr. Whistler took me to Marchant's[5] and we saw the picture[6]. It is most beautiful and made all the other pictures in the room look cheap and common.

Mrs. Whibley[7] has returned to the Manor and she should have been here today but has not yet arrived. The slippers[8] are progressing, Mrs. Whibley's is finished but mine is not quite complete. However, I must "brace up", as you used to say, and finish my masterpiece.

(p. 2) I must not forget either to tell you that the letter of credit was returned to the bank on September 6th and that they promised to transfer it to you in Detroit. I hope it is all right.

I was much touched by your nice letter for I too am not without pleasant memories of the Hague.

There is still much to tell that would interest you but this must go.

Yours very sincerely,

Rosalind Birnie Philip

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

2.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

3.  Mr. Ray

4.  Miss Norman
Possibly Miss Norman, a social acquaintance of JW.

5.  Marchant's
William Stephen Marchant (1868-1925), art dealer [more].

6.  picture
Unidentified. Earlier in the year Freer had managed to purchase a long desired Nocturne, Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Battersea Reach (YMSM 119) through Marchant.

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

8.  slippers
Unfortunately, the embroidered slippers came to a bad end; see Philip to Freer, 5 December 1902, #13829.