The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Peacock Room
Record 30 of 79

System Number: 02576
Date: [3 November 1876][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Frederick Richards Leyland[2]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L112
Document Type: ALS[3]

'No. 8'[4]

Dear Leyland -

I was unable yesterday to acknowledge your note[5] -

You put it wrongly - It was I[6] who made the offer to meet you as you liked - and you who accepted - I volunteered to share the expense as well as the mortification of work[7] done that was neither rejoiced in nor even wished for - After this, your right to change the guinea[8] of tradition to the current sovereign I don't dispute - I merely notice it as new. -

Forgive the tone, if you find it flippant.

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

2 Lindsey Houses -

Friday Oct -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3 November 1876]
Despite JW's incomplete date 'Friday Oct,' this letter is dated November according to JW's own sequence of numbered letters. Dated also from a letter from F. R. Leyland to JW, #02578 (dated 1 November 1876) to which this letter seems to be a reply.

2.  Frederick Richards Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

3.  ALS
This letter may possibly be JW's file copy especially as, according to JW's numbered sequence (see note above), the date appears to be incomplete or wrong.

4.  'No. 8'
Written in hand of JW, in top left-hand corner of sheet, in pencil. He seems to have numbered his correspondence with Leyland over Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178) with a view to publication (although this did not take place).

5.  note
Perhaps a reference to F. R. Leyland to JW, #02578 (see date note above).

6.  I

7.  work
The dining room at 49, Prince's Gate, F. R. Leyland's London home. JW worked through the summer months on Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178), a decorative scheme for the room. However, Leyland considered that JW's work exceeded his commission, 'intended to be a very slight affair and the work of comparatively a few days,' not the elaborate scheme that was the result of JW's efforts (see F. R. Leyland to JW, #02570).

8.  change the guinea
Leyland offered JW payment in pounds rather that the more gentlemanly guinea, out of general circulation by 1876 but still in use for the payment of professional fees. See F. R. Leyland to JW, #02574.