UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: UKCoombe Hill Farm
Record 8 of 9

System Number: 11791
Date: 21 March 1887
Author: George Webb[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Beatrix Godwin[2]
Place: London
Repository: Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Call Number: Theatre Archive, THM/3 Box 7
Document Type: ALS


G

GEO. & WM WEBB,
11. AUSTIN FRIARS, OLD BROAD STREET,
LONDON,
E. C.

TELEPHONE NUMBER 1282.

21 Mch 1887

Dear Mrs Godwin,

Mr Godwin[3] did register the "Faithfull Shepherdess[4]" at Stationers Hall, but I do not know if he did so with "As you like it". I think also he protected the "Faithfull Shepherdess" in America. I would suggest your informing Mr De Cordova[5], whom I remember that you would have no objection to the performances on being paid a royalty of say £2 to £4 according to the amount you think advisable for each performance. I would [p. 2] suggest that you put it at the lowest sum. The death of Mr Godwin does not annul the advantage of the registration.

I am urging Mr Sharpe[6] to yield respecting the stove. He is under the impression that it is a good one and that you have been merely set against it

Yours truly

Geo & Wm Webb.

Mrs Godwin
14 Upper Cheyne Row
Chelsea


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Notes:

1.  George Webb
George Webb (b. ca 1835), of G. and W. Webb. lawyer [more].

2.  Beatrix Godwin
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

3.  Mr Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

4.  Faithful Shepherdess
JW introduced E. W. Godwin to Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more] in 1884. Lady Archie decided to present on open-air performance in aid of charity, at Coombe House, New Malden, Surrey. Godwin was designer/manager. She starred as Orlando in Shakespeare's As You Like It on 22 July 1884. This was successfully revived in 1885. Oscar Wilde reviewed the production favourably ('As You Like It' at Coombe House, Dramatic Review, 6 June 1885, pp. 296-7). This success inspired the creation of the Society of Pastoral Players, with Godwin as Director and Lady Archie as President. A production of John Fletcher's The Faithfull Shepherdesse, revised and adapted by Godwin, was the next production. Carefully researched, with costumes and accessories designed by Godwin, it included a full cast of animals, satyrs etc. etc., and Lady Archie in the starring role. Reviews commented on the naturalism and spectacular effects (i.e. 'The Pastoral Players', Era, 4 July 1885, p. 12). The last production of the Pastoral Players was Fair Rosamund, adapted by Godwin from Tennyson's Becket. Lady Archie was, naturally, Rosamund. It was performed in the woods at Villa Cannizaro, Wimbledon, Surrey in the summer of 1886 (see T. H. Thiselton, 'Fair Rosamund', Theatre, 1 September 1886, pp. 170-2). A full account of the plays is given in Fanny Baldwin, 'E. W. Godwin and Design for the Theatre', in Soros, Susan Weber, The Secular Furniture of E. W. Godwin, New Haven, 1999, pp. 331-7. Beatrix Godwin was involved in helping with the business side of the productions, but appears to have rather fallen out with Lady Archie. The relationship was not helped by the stress of the Godwin marriage, since Godwin's physical and mental health was seriously deteriorating. Godwin left no will and Beatrix was left in poverty. Her attempt to retain the rights to anything which might raise some money - such as Godwin's adaptation of The Faithfull Shepherdesse had an economic as well as personal motive.

5.  Mr De Cordova
Rudolph De Cordova (d. 1941), actor [more].

6.  Mr Sharpe
Sharpe, a landlord.