UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Fontaine, Jean de la
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 06630
Date: [28 October 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Lyme Regis
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W624
Document Type: ALS


My own Chinkie

your letter this morning was a real delight! - Good old Brother Kennedy[3]! How well it is my darling Wam that you did take your courage in your two hands that day and go up to town and to the queer old Scotshman[4]!

Of course he is rich! -

Now Chinkie go on - and by the way dont run any risks and get cold in that black London of yours. - I hear the fogs have begun - [p. 2] besides you say yourself as much -

So old Webb[5] has been has he? - Well what did he say? - I suppose you have had a rare squable! - Yes        Nellie[6] is shocking! -

Just think of that evening with Walter Winans[7] & his Missis[8] - Poor old Walter himself is not a bad fellow - but the dinner must have been a ridiculously doleful business. - I suppose Nellie gabbled away and toadied Mrs. W.      I wrote a line to Willie[9] yesterday and told him to go to Thomsons[10] and look at the picture[11], "now that it is washed & varnished"!

Pennell[12] is like Montesquiou's[13] Lafontaine fable[14] of the kind bear & the paving stone! I send you cutting - you see in his involved desire to be nice to me, he really manages to say that the success of the exhibition is greatly owing to the fact that Whistler doesn't send any large canvas to make the people stop and look - In short that it [is] well that I didn't send any thing worth stopping for!! - Therefore people can walk about and the show is a success. -

And not a word about Carmen[15]! - Joseph has a mania for discovering - and now he has discovered Sandys[16]! and he proposes to wipe the eye of Van Eyck[17] with this large Briton! -

I am sending you too a letter from some marble man who apparently got the bedroom chimney piece [p. 3] and wants to make a job of it - I think you had better send it to Bunnie[18] and tell her to see the man or write and say that nothing is to be done until our return -

Also there is a little bill for that most foolish book[19] on Paris gardens - you remember the dreadful person said the beautiful orange boxes of the Tuilleries & the Luxembourg were ugly - and that statues should not be in gardens - because they didn't grow there! - I thought that Wobbles[20] gave you the book! - Well never mind -

Well Chinkie I am working away - & if I can only keep my nose on the chalk line, I suppose I shall have something to show - Today has been sunny but cold - Take my word for it, you are better in a town than in this out of doors country, where the trees would be warmer inside and on the fire!

You[21] know my own darling that I live only from 'post to post!' - and look for your letters!

Do obis[22] for me that the Grinder[23] may get some thing finished & come away

Love to the Major[24] -
Your own loving

[butterfly signature]


This document is protected by copyright.


Envelope:

To
Mrs. J. McNeill Whistler
Garlants Hotel
Suffolk Street
Pall Mall
London.
[stamp:] POSTAGE AND INLAND REVENUE / ONE PENNY
[postmark:] LYME·REGIS / D / OC28 / 95


Notes:

1.  [28 October 1895]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. JW called her 'Wam' and 'Chinkie'.

3.  Brother Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

4.  Scotshman
JW was in touch with John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more]; and William Burrell (1861-1958), ship-owner and collector [more]; as well as dealers such as Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more]; and J. Craibe Angus, art dealer, of Craibe Angus and Son, Glasgow [more]. However, it is not clear which old and rich collector he had made contact with.

5.  Webb
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more].

6.  Nellie
Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917), née Ellen Ionides, JW's sister-in-law [more].

7.  Walter Winans
Walter Winans (1852-1920), painter and sculptor, son of William L. Winans [more].

8.  Missis
Mrs Winans, wife of Walter.

9.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. See JW's letter to Helen Whistler, [13 October 1895], #06734.

10.  Thomsons
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

11.  picture
Green and Silver: The Devonshire Cottages (YMSM 266), or Whistler in his Studio (YMSM 63).

12.  Pennell
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more].

13.  Montesquiou's
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more].

14.  Lafontaine fable
Jean La Fontaine (1621-1695), poet and writer of fables. The fable here referred to is The Bear and the Amateur Gardener, which tells the friendship of a bear and a hermit. The bear uses a paving-stone to kill the flies buzzing around his sleeping friend's head, unfortunately killing the man at the same time: 'A foolish friend may cause more woe/Than could, indeed, the wisest foe'. La Fontaine, J., 'L' Ours et l'Amateur des jardins', Fables choisies, mises en vers [Selected fables versified], 1668-94, transl. Elizur Wright Jr., 1841, Book 8, No. 10.

15.  Carmen
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441), on show at the 5th Exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895.

16.  Sandys
Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (1829-1904), portrait painter and designer [more].

17.  Van Eyck
Jan Van Eyck (1389-1441), painter [more].

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

19.  book
Not identified.

20.  Wobbles
Charles Whibley (1859-1930), writer and journalist [more].

21.  You
'You ... Grinder' is writtin in the left margin p. 1 and the remainder along the top of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

22.  obis
Jap., prayers.

23.  Grinder
JW referred to himself as the 'Grinder', a workman or craftsman.

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