UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Kohler, Mme
Record 10 of 13

System Number: 03752
Date: 28 March 1890
Author: A. Maeterlinck[1]
Place: Antwerp
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M86
Document Type: ALS


A. MAETERLINCK
AVOCAT
RUE ST. PAUL, 39

ANVERS,

LE 28 Mars 1890.

Monsieur J. McNeill Whistler

Cher Monsieur.

J'ai enfin le plaisir de vous envoyer un exemplaire de l'édition[2] que M. Sheridan Ford[3] était sur le point de lançer [sic] sur le marché lorsque nous avons réussi à faire intervenir la justice.

Il parait que ce Monsieur ne demeure pas à Londres, mais à Paris, où il dirige l'agence du "Gallignani[4]'s Messenger".

Au point de vue des poursuites qui sont entamées ici, il me sera utile de connaître exactement la situation juridique au point de vue de votre propriété des oeuvres reproduites par M. [p. 2] Sheridan Ford. On soutiendra, je crois, que d'apres [sic] la loi anglaise il n'est pas défendu de reproduire des écrits qui ont paru dans des Revues, et on argumentera de l'autorisation donnée par M. Edmund Yates[5]. Mrs. Lewis & Lewis[6] m'ont envoyé copie d'une lettre de ce dernier, d'où il résulte que cette autorisation a été surprise, mais il sera bon d'avoir quelques détails à ce sujet.

Bref, il s'agit de prouver que d'apres la loi anglaise, vous avez seul le droit de reproduction des écrits dont question. Notre loi protège le droit de propriété littéraire, mais il est bon de s'assurer dès à présent que d'apres votre loi vous avez encore ce droit de propriété.

Croyez moi, Cher Monsieur
Votre dévoué

Alb Maeterlinck

M. Whistler.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

A. MAETERLINCK
AVOCAT
RUE ST. PAUL, 39

ANVERS,

28 March 1890.

Mr. J. McNeill Whistler

Dear Sir,

At last I have the pleasure of sending you a copy of the edition which Mr Sheridan Ford was on the point of putting on the market when we succeeded in obtaining the intervention of the courts.

It appears that this gentleman does not live in London, but in Paris, where he manages the "Gallignani's Messenger" agency.

From the point of view of the proceedings which have been initiated here, it will be useful to know the exact legal situation from the point of view of your ownership of the works copied by Mr. [p. 2] Sheridan Ford. It will be maintained, I believe, that according to English law it is not forbidden to copy writings which have appeared in Reviews, and an argument will be made for the authorisation given by Mr. Edmund Yates. Messrs Lewis & Lewis have sent me a copy of a letter from the latter, from which it is clear that this authorisation is fraudulent, but it will be as well to have some details on this matter.

Briefly, it is a question of proving that according to English law, you alone have the copyright in the writings in question. Our law protects literary copyright, but it is as well to ensure right away that according to your law you also have this copyright.

Believe me, Sir
Yours truly

Alb Maeterlinck

M. Whistler.


Notes:

1.  A. Maeterlinck
Maître Albert Maeterlinck, attorney in Antwerp [more].

2.  l'édition
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, in the edition prepared by Sheridan Ford: this copy has not been traced. The Antwerp edition of 2,000 copies printed by Kohler was not distributed, but the text was subsequently published as Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890; see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, A.21, pp. 14-15.

3.  M. Sheridan Ford
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more].

4.  Gallignani
Literary agents and publishers.

5.  M. Edmund Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more]. A number of the letters in Ford's book, and indeed in JW's official version of the Gentle Art, were originally published in World. Hence Yates had been consulted by Mme. Kohler on the publication for Ford (see #02438), who had then passed on her letter to JW. As a result, the publication of Ford's edition in Belgium was suppressed.

6.  Mrs. Lewis & Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more]; and George James Graham Lewis (1868-1927), junior partner of Lewis & Lewis, solicitors [more].