The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Bell, Alexander Carlyle
Record 5 of 6

System Number: 00275
Date: 30 October 1902
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Nancy Regina Emily Bell[1]
Place: [Christchurch][2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B50
Document Type: MsLS[3]


Mr Freer[4], of Detroit, sends me copies of your correspondence[5] with him.

As you have not approached me in the matter, I assume that you are prepared to disregard his very proper exposition of the only conduct possible towards the one by whose life you propose to benefit.

I desire herewith to acquaint you with [p. 2] my unqualified disapproval of your plan and methods and shall, should you persist, publically [sic] protest against your intrusion and traffic in my personal concerns.

And I have the honour to be,
your obedient servant

J. McNeill Whistler

74 Cheyne Walk
Chelsea -

Oct: 30th 1902.

Mrs Arthur Bell.
Rastgarth -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Nancy Regina Emily Bell
Nancy Regina Emily Bell (1844-1933), née Meugens, writer, wife of Arthur Bell [more]. JW had already received an approach from Bernhard Sickert (1862-1932), painter of landscape and still life, author [more] in June 1902, proposing to write a book about him for the same publishers, George Bell (#05419). Nancy Bell (no apparent relation) appears to have been Messrs Bell's second choice. The Bell publication was eventually published after JW's death (Bell, Nancy R. E., James McNeill Whistler, by Mrs Arthur Bell, London, 1904). Sickert's book was also published but by a different firm, Duckworth's (Sickert, Bernhard, Whistler, London and New York, 1908). For an account of this episode see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, Philadelphia, 1921, pp. 258-61.

2.  [Christchurch]
Due to boundary changes, Christchurch and Southbourne are now in Dorset.

3.  MsLS
Written in the hand of Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more] and signed by JW. Written on narrow bordered mourning paper.

4.  Mr Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more]. See his letter to JW, 15 October 1902, #01536, and Mrs Bell to Freer, 14 October 1903, #01535.

5.  correspondence
See #00271, #00272. JW, alarmed by the prospect of a popular biographer writing about him, refused to co-operate. His draft reply is at #00274.