The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: quarrel (Du Maurier)
Record 1 of 2

System Number: 10987
Date: [March/October 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: George Henry Lewis[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Call Number: Department of Western Manuscripts, MS Dep. c. 839, fols 71-72
Document Type: ALS[3]

George - my dear George -

You know that I have not forgotten the traditions of the Place of Ely[4]! - though you have thrust me from you - having taken to your bosom, of late years, as "old friends[5]", every scamp it became me to destroy! -

You sent me sadly on to others who [p. 2] should, in your place, hold the sponge of the Law for the noble and simpleminded Southern gentleman while he fought bravely and singlehanded as usual, against Treachery and vilainous [sic] friendship!

Yet the Law remains - and you George Are the Law!

This was bourne [sic] in upon me from the beginning! - and so am I, in this matter, at my ease - knowing that you shall do as you like with the coming trial[6] -

You shall make of its masterly triumph - and you alone shall fix its time!

Arrange then my dear George that I may stay with you, and not hasten from the court - at the moment of your victory! -


[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [March/October 1897]
Dated from the references to lawsuits (see below).

2.  George Henry Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

3.  ALS
Written on deep bordered mourning paper.

4.  Place of Ely
A reference to Lewis's offices at 10 and 11 Ely Place.

5.  old friends
This relates to George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more], and his novel of bohemian life in Paris: Du Maurier, George, Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894. When Trilby was first published in serial parts in Harper's Magazine in March 1894, JW objected to Du Maurier's portrayal of himself in the character of Joe Sibley, the 'Idle Apprentice'. Lewis refused to represnt JW because he was an old friend of Du Maurier. Harper's subsequently apologised (Harper & Bros to JW, #09879) and Du Maurier toned down the references to JW. When the book was published later in the year, drawings of JW were also omitted.

6.  trial
Possibly the trial of Pennell v. Sickert, which was heard on 5-6 April 1897 at the King's Bench Division. Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more], had written that Pennell's method of drawing on transfer paper instead of directly onto the lithographic stone could not be regarded as true lithography (Sickert, W. R., 'Transfer Lithography', Saturday Review, 26 December 1896). After consulting Lewis, Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more], engaged Sir Edward Clarke, QC; see E. R. Pennell to JW, #10635. JW appeared as a witness for Pennell who won the case. (see #08480; #13493). However, it is also possible that JW is referring to the trial of Eden v. Whistler, his long-running dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). It was not finally resolved until December 1897 (see Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]).