The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Peacock Room
Record 36 of 79

System Number: 02580
Date: [16/23 February 1877?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Frederick Richards Leyland[2]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L116
Document Type: ALd

'No. 10[3]'

Dear Leyland -

I enclose an article[4] I was just reading when your gracious little not[e][5] was handed to me -

I apologize[6] for my riotous peacocks[7] - it is unseemly in them to have brought all London trespassing into your house - they really will have to be removed as you said[8] they ought to be - [... text breaks off ...]

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1.  [16/23 February 1877?]
Dated from reference to an article on Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178) (see below).

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

3.  No. 10
Double-underlined and written (in pencil) probably in JW's hand, in the top left-hand corner of sheet. 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.

4.  article
This may be a reference to the article, Anon., 'Mr. Whistler's Decorative Paintings,' Pall Mall Gazette, no. 3742, vol. 25, 15 February 1877, p. 10.

5.  not[e]
The word 'note' appears to be missing its 'e', and might even be the French word 'mot', meaning 'word' (i.e. 'short letter'). This is probably a reference to the letter (#02579) in which Leyland asked JW to prevent any more visitors from viewing Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178), his decorative scheme for the dining room of Leyland's London house.

6.  I apologize ... ought to be
Scored through many times over. The final version of this letter to Leyland has not been located. If written in these terms it would not have helped relations, but it may be that JW considered that relations with his patron had broken down anyway.

7.  riotous peacocks
The peacocks used by JW in his design for The Peacock Room.

8.  you said
On 21 October 1876 Leyland had refused to pay JW's bill for unauthorised work on his dining room and suggested he remove the newly decorated shutters (#02570). Although JW continued to work on them through the spring of 1877 and they remained with the completed room, relations with Leyland deteriorated abruptly at that point.