The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: UK56 Euston Square
Record 2 of 3

System Number: 05247
Date: 7 January 1868
Author: William Michael Rossetti [1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R143
Document Type: ALS

56 Euston Sq. N. W.

7 Jany. 1868.

Dear Whistler,

I heard the other day with astonishment & a measure of indignation that it has been alleged or insinuated by some person or persons that you were the reverse of sober during the meeting[2] of the Burlington Club[3] of the 13th [p. 2] Decr. - From direct personal knowledge of the facts, I hereby affirm that statement to be a calumny, & one for which there is neither the shadow of a foundation nor the fragment of an excuse.

Always truly yours,

W. M. Rossetti.

J. A. Whistler Esq.

[p. 3][4] 'Letter from C Keane[5] [sic] - re Swinburne[6] and Arts'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  William Michael Rossetti
William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more].

2.  meeting
The meeting concerned JW's membership of the Burlington Fine Arts Club and his dispute with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more] (see R. N. Wornum to JW, #00445). This dated from April 1867 when JW quarrelled with Haden over his treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer died on a trip to Paris, allegedly in a brothel. Haden arranged for Traer's burial with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. Haden later claimed that in the resulting confrontation JW had pushed him through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club and in the aftermath of the Traer affair Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded, having brought to the Club's attention several alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (JW to L. Huth, #02240, JW to W. Boxall, #00498). JW was asked to resign on the threat of expulsion in June 1867 (see R. N. Wornum to JW, #10442). Aggrieved with the summary way in which he felt the Club had treated him, JW refused to entertain the charges against him, claiming that the Club had no right to interfere in a private matter (see JW to L. Huth, #02240). Despite his protests, he was expelled at the meeting on 13 December 1867. His fellow members William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more], and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more], both resigned as a gesture of support (see JW to W. M. Rossetti, #09390).

3.  Burlington Club
The Burlington Fine Arts Club, founded early in 1866, a club for artists and connoisseurs. It was located at 177, Piccadilly. JW was proposed as a member on 22 February 1867 (see William Boxall, Louis Huth and the Marquis d'Azeglio, proposers, #11957).

4.  [p. 3]
Written in another hand and badly smudged, perhaps in an attempt to erase the words as they do not appear to refer to this letter.

5.  C Keane
Charles Samuel Keene (1823-1891), etcher, cartoonist and illustrator [more].

6.  Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet and critic [more].