UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: UKCoombe Hill Farm
Record 4 of 9

System Number: 10899
Date: [August 1883/1884?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Helen Euphrosyne Whistler[2]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 19/1867-8
Document Type: TLc


Of course I have let two posts go without an answer my dear Nellie to your question! - I meant to have written in time - and I can only hope this will reach you - for I want you to take all sorts of charming messages to Mrs Bronson[3] who is too nice not to forgive me for my horrid conduct.

She wrote to me long ago asking me to look up some tools and working details for some poor frame maker of hers in Venice, and of course I meant to do so - but you know how my days follow each other and find [me] always slaving away in the Studio and always too late to get out - and so the days go by - and at last everything ends in general chaos and terror and despair - Do make all this clear for me Nellie - and dear me what lucky people you are to get over to Venice - and how very wise you are to go now that you have a chance -

I do hope you are going for you don't absolutely say so - Every Gondolier in Venice would tell you where the Signora Bronson is - but I think her address is Palazzo Alvisi - Grand Canal - opposite the Salute -

Your letter[4] is as usual delightful - you know I always say that you write the most really interesting [p. 2] and entertaining letters going - also you are the only one who gives me any news - Here by the way there is nought but emptiness.

I shall still remain for a while however - as I find this very good working time -

Am reading new novel by Miss Braddon - The Golden Calf[5] - get it - you will like it -

Of course I have been down to Coombe[6] - and there are also one or two stragglers still to be found in odd corners of town - but the Clubs are all shut, and I think I have not been very well lately. So you perceive things are - ! -

Love to both - write again soon do
Always

[butterfly signature]

I am so glad to know that Willie[7] is so well, he had much better not hurry back.


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Notes:

1.  [August 1883/1884?]
Dated 1883/1884 from the reference to The Golden Calf (see note below). The reference to the emptiness of town suggest a date in mid-summer, and to JW's illness, August 1883, for he mentioned being ill, in a letter dated 11 August 1883, #07395.

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

3.  Mrs Bronson
Katherine Coleman Bronson (1834-1901), née De Kay [more]. From September 1879 to November 1880, JW worked in Venice on a commission from the Fine Art Society for Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5). He enjoyed frequent hospitality from the Bronsons during his stay.

4.  Your letter
Untraced.

5.  Miss Braddon - The Golden Calf
Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1837-1915), writer [more]; Braddon, M. E., The Golden Calf : a novel, London, 1883.

6.  Coombe
Coombe Hill Farm, Norbiton, Surrey, country home of Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913), second son of the 8th Duke of Argyll, army officer, writer and businessman [more], and Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more].

7.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].