The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Bell, Alexander Carlyle
Record 3 of 6

System Number: 01536
Date: 15 October 1902
Author: Charles Lang Freer[1]
Place: Detroit
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F468
Document Type: ALS[2]


October 15th, 1902.

Dear Mr Whistler:-

Will you kindly read the enclosed correspondence[3] at your leisure, and let me know your pleasure in the matter? Personally, I know nothing of the lady[4] -

I am just home again from a three weeks driving trip through the White Mountains and Berkshire hills, and am in [p. 2] fine fettle to meet the extremes of an American winter -

How are you? much better I hope.

During my late travels I accidentally meet Mr Canfield[5] who seemed very well, and very enthusiastic over the recent purchase of one of your masterpieces[6]. He is a lucky man -

With affectionate regards and all good wishes,
yours very sincerely,

Charles L. Freer

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  ALS
Published by Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, no. 77, p. 177.

3.  correspondence
It concerned a proposal by Nancy Regina Emily Bell (1844-1933), née Meugens, writer, wife of Arthur Bell [more] to write a book about JW. See Bell's two earlier letters, 18 September and 23 September, #00271 and #00272 and Freer's reply, #01535. Freer forwarded copies of the correspondence to JW (#01536) who, alarmed by the prospect of a popular biographer writing about him, refused to co-operate. JW's draft reply is at #00274; see also #00275.

4.  lady
Nancy Bell was a prolific writer and translator. Her books included Masterpieces of the Great Artists AD 1400-1700 (1893); The Student's Handbook of Art. An elementary history of art (1895) and Thomas Gainsborough : a record of his life and works (1897 and 1902). Her monograph of JW was eventually published after his death (Bell, Nancy R. E., James McNeill Whistler, by Mrs Arthur Bell, London, 1904).

5.  Mr Canfield
Richard Albert Canfield (1855-1914), gambler [more].

6.  masterpieces
Canfield had just purchased Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398) from the sitter for 60,000 francs. See R. Canfield to JW, #00529.