The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Blott, Jonathon
Record 13 of 13

System Number: 02816
Date: [23 December 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Charles Augustus Howell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 11/114-5
Document Type: ALS

'23. December - 1878.'
Monday night -

For the life of me I don't know what it all means Howell! - Rose[3] is I fear very much vexed at the complexion of the Nightingale affair[4]! - and considers himself compromised deeply -

He arranged with the lawyers according to your proposals with reference to the bills, and they on behalf of Nightingale quite agreed - You told Rose that he might send for you at any moment and you would come at once - The papers have [p. 2] been in his office for five days now waiting for you to sign - Rose wrote to you[5] on Thursday, and again on Friday - and I waited with him for you in Salisbury Street on Friday and on Saturday and again tonight (by appointment through Elden[6], who called this morning to say that you would meet me at Rose's at 5 today) from 5 till 7. -

Tomorrow he will again be in town all day - but probably for the last time - Will you go to him?

Useless to tell you how shocking the matters are in the Show[7] - for you seem to have dropped out of all this simply - As to the long letter[8] from you, I wouldn't if I were you do this sort of thing again Howell. Neither should I think it the nicest thing in the world were I you, to reflect upon the returned little cheque - As long as my bank lasted it was very much at your service and you found it not inconvenient to rely upon when difficulties were about - and it's collapse was not retarded by the financial administration that brought about the Blott transaction[9] - & - returned cheques reigned! and I doubt if I ever reproached you - As to my not finding it convenient to go to Southampton Row[10] the other night [p. 3] why man I just came from there!! - I had been there over and over again to meet you uselessly - I had sent to Chaldon House[11] - and to the City - as to your hearing that I wished you to come on tuesday last to Wimpole St[12] while I dressed, you sent word from Allingham's[13] yourself to say that you would do so - and consequently I not only believed you but sat up until nearly 2 in the morning waiting for you -

As to Nightingales impertinences - I know nothing of them, but they seem to have been slight since he accepted your proposal to "come forward" as you say, at once - and ever since Rose seems to think that we are in a sad plight indeed - as you have not come forward at all - As to the set you mention I dont know whether it was yours or mine but doubtless you are right and it will be down among the various and I ought not to be reproached with it - if not down, I ought to be reproached still less - As to the half crowns to John[14] - all right my dear Howell, but you mistake the point - Your paying him has nothing whatever to do with the fact that for days which one was allowed to hope for you - the only link between The White House and yourself was a bag of shirts! Shall you be at Rose'[s] tomorrow at 6 o'clock - I shall be there whether or no to meet you -

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


C. A. Howell Esq
Chaldon House -
[porstmark:] LONDON. W / 7 / DE 24 / 78


1.  [23 December 1878]
Date '23. December - 1878.' written by C. A. Howell at top of letter.

2.  Charles Augustus Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

3.  Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

4.  Nightingale affair
Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (b. 1838), builder [more]. This letter concerns JW's dispute with Nightingale over the construction cost of the White House, his studio house at Tite Street, which had far exceeded the original estimate. The size of the final bill pushed JW, already hard-pressed financially, towards crisis point (see his correspondence with E. W. Godwin, #08736, #01748, and G. & W. Webb to JW, #08735). Howell seems to have offered himself as a guarantor for the settlement of JW's debt to Nightingale (see correspondence between Mackrell & Co., Rose and JW, #02809, #12014, #12015).

5.  wrote to you
Letters untraced. However, by the following day, Howell had written a letter to Nightingale asserting his willingness to accept the bills for the White House: 'As you have issued a Writ of Execution against Mr Whistler for £450 & Costs and the Sheriff is now in possession at his house "The Whitehouse" [sic] Chelsea under such Writ - I am willing to accept two bills, one for £200 at one month and the other for £250 at three months from the 24th Decr if you will withdraw the Sheriff from possession -'. However, Howell seems to have been in some financial difficulty himself (C. A. Howell to J. A. Rose, #11901).

6.  Elden
Matthew Robinson Elden (1839-1885), artist [more].

7.  Show
A reference to JW's financial affairs.

8.  long letter
Letter untraced.

9.  Blott transaction
Jonathon Blott (b. ca 1847), oil and colourman [more]. This is one of a group of letters relating to financial transactions between JW, Blott, and C. A. Howell, chiefly dating from February to June 1878 (see #10340, #02183, #09002, #00309, #11161, #00310, #10055, #09255 and #07619).

10.  Southampton Row
91 Southampton Row was the home of Rosa Frances Corder (1853-1884), artist [more].

11.  Chaldon House
Home of C. A. Howell in Fulham.

12.  Wimpole Street
Home of William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

13.  Allingham's
Theodore Frederick Allingham (b. 1845), solicitor [more]. Allingham had been dealing with the bills of numerous small tradesmen to whom JW owed money, including Nightingale. However, by late December 1878, JW had handed over his affairs to J. A. Rose (T. F. Allingham to JW, #00148).

14.  John
John Cossins, JW's valet [more].