The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: furniture, pagoda cabinet
Record 3 of 9

System Number: 04192
Date: 23 December 1878
Author: Sydney Morse[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Charles Augustus Howell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M462
Document Type: ALS

Howell re Cabinet[3]


96 Cheyne Walk
Chelsea. S. W.

23 Decr 1878.

Dear Mr Howell,

I understand that you have the top of the Cabinet[5] I purchased from Mr Whistler and are kindly having it repaired for me. (a) As some of the pieces are with me perhaps you would kindly direct your man to see me about it or rather as there really is no reason why you should be so troubled on my account will you give it to J. B. C. Cossins[6] who brings this.

[p. 2] He is doing some work for me and can do this at the same time

Yours truly

Sydney Morse

We have the Carlyle[7] and like it much.

S. M.

(a) Howell had[8], I think, told Cossins the top was being repaired at his expense - He certainly told me so.

S. M.

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  Charles Augustus Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

3.  Howell re Cabinet
In pencil.

4.  15
In pencil. '15' is also written at the top of page two.

5.  Cabinet
A Chinese 'pagoda' cabinet sold by JW to Morse in September 1878 with Howell apparently acting as agent. Soon afterwards, it became the subject of an elaborate deception instigated by Howell. Contrary to Howell's claim that he had taken it in for repair, it later turned out that he 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].

6.  Cossins
John S. Cossins (b. 1831 or 1832), painter and decorator [more].

7.  Carlyle
A reference to Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). An engraving of the picture had recently been published in a limited edition by Henry Graves and Co. of Pall Mall (Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, I, pp. 226-27). Morse is probably referring to a proof of the engraving.

8.  (a) Howell had ... S. M.
Note written by Morse in left-hand margin for insertion in main body of letter.