The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: furniture, pagoda cabinet
Record 2 of 9

System Number: 00148
Date: 17 December 1878
Author: Theodore Frederick Allingham[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler A147
Document Type: ALS



17 Decr 1878

My dear Jimmy -

By John[2] I send you all your papers. You are quite right in the course you have taken & altho' I lose you as a Client I am sure I keep you as a friend & you must come as of old when City-wards & have a little drink - Nor will I forget the White house[3] & an occasional Sabbath matutinal knife & fork - &c - Many thanks old fellow for your suggestion of painting a portrait[4] of my dear wife - It will be a treble pleasure to me - To have a work of yours - the painted evidence of your kind regard & a reproduction on canvas of my dear wife - This must be at your [p. 2] leisure & when public wants can make place for private wishes -

As to Morse[5] I will tell you exactly how we stand in a day or two[.] Shortly however on the cabinet[6] being complete he has to send you something like £13. or £14 -

The Baronet[7] will see you today

And now mon cher au revoir not adieu -

With my very best wishes
Yours most chumily

Theo Allingham

J A McNeil [sic] Whistler Esq[8]


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1.  Theodore Frederick Allingham
Theodore Frederick Allingham (b. 1845), solicitor [more]. Allingham had been dealing with the bills of numerous small tradesmen to whom JW owed money. However, he had recently handed over his affairs to James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more]. On the same date of this letter, Rose stated 'I am dealing with other Claims & my own £500 waits for everybody.' (J. A. Rose to J. Mackrell, #05235).

2.  John
John Cossins, JW's valet [more].

3.  White house
JW's new studio house at Tite Street.

4.  portrait
It is not known whether this portrait was ever executed.

5.  Morse
Sydney Morse (1854-1929), solicitor [more].

6.  cabinet
A Chinese 'pagoda' cabinet sold by JW to Morse in September 1878. Soon afterwards, it became the subject of an elaborate deception between JW, Allingham, Morse and Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more]. When in December 1878 Morse queried why he had not yet received the complete cabinet, Howell claimed that he had taken it in for repair. It later turned out that Howell had pawned the head-piece. JW published his version of events in Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, [1882].

7.  Baronet

8.  J A McNeil [sic] Whistler Esq
When this letter was folded, this name would have appeared at the front as the address.

9.  'Allingham.'
Written in a different hand, in the right margin.