The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: May, Charles Mitchell
Record 4 of 5

System Number: 08643
Date: [June/August 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Walter Dowdeswell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: ALS


Dear Walter -

don't forget about May[3] and his damned writ -

I think you may take the old books - but will write again when the proofs[4] I have taken are dry and cut. -

I have written the note [p. 2] for your brother[5] to show to Mr Spencer[6] - but left it at home -

I will send it tomorrow -

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [June/August 1886?]
Dated by the address and reference to printing proofs (see below).

2.  Walter Dowdeswell
Walter Dowdeswell (1858-1929), art dealer [more].

3.  May
Charles Mitchell May, carver and gilder, at 19 St Anne's Court, Soho [more], to whom JW owed money (see JW to Charles William Dowdeswell, #08636) .

4.  the proofs
Probably A Set of twenty-six etchings of Venice, 1886 (the second 'Venice set') (K.196-216, 233-237). (excat 6). JW used a variety of paper, including sheets of old watermarked laid paper from books for printing the edition (see MacDonald, Margaret F., Palaces in the Night Whistler in Venice, Aldershot, 2001, p. 84). Printing started in April 1886 and the last plates were cancelled in July 1887.

5.  your brother
Charles Dowdeswell (m. 1897), art dealer, son of C. W. Dowdeswell [more].

6.  Mr Spencer
Possibly Walter Thomas Spencer (fl. 1883-1925), second-hand bookseller at 27 Oxford Street [more], who acquired certain oil paintings some time after JW's bankruptcy in 1879, possibly through Walter Greaves. The date of their acquisition and sale by Dowdeswell is not known precisely, and may indeed have been after JW's death, for in 1910 Dowdeswell showed some, including Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Grey: The Chinese Screen (YMSM 51) to E. R. Pennell (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, Philadelphia, 1921, pp. 125-7).