Documents associated with: Howells, John Mead
Record 5 of 8
System Number: 10933
Date: [February 1895?]
Recipient: John Mead Howells
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Call Number: b MS AM 1784. 11 (20)
Credit Line: Published by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University
Document Type: ALS
18 RUE DE L'UNIVERSITÉ.
My dear Johnnie -
If you think this possible, as you yourself are so busy, perhaps Miss Howells might come with Miss Philip [p. 2] to the studio tomorrow afternoon? -
In short what do you think? - Is it at all possible? -
I will call round this afternoon and further arrange if you were able meanwhile to look in for a second at 110. and see the ladies who will explain -
In any case you must forgive the abruptness and peu de ceremonie of this sudden note!
with my best compliments to your charming sister -
John M Howells Esq
1. [February 1895?]
This probably dates from immediately prior to the early hearings in the Eden v. Whistler lawsuit, although it could date from slightly later (see below).
Mildred Howells (1873-1966), painter and poet [more]. Mildred Howells was the subject of a lithograph, A Portrait: Mildred Howells (C.112), which was first printed in November 1894, and reworked subsequently.
5. Eden picture
Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), a portrait of Lady Sybil Frances Eden (1867-1945), née Grey [more]. JW's dispute with the sitter's husband, Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408) started on 14 February 1894, when, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a 'Valentine', a cheque for 100 guineas. JW thought this inadequate, and claimed that the work was incomplete and that he was dissatisfied with it. He refused to hand over the portrait, on the grounds that it was the artist's right to withhold a picture in such circumstances. When Eden instituted legal proceedings in November 1894 in order to retrieve the portrait, JW returned all monies that had been paid to him. He apparently rubbed down and altered the portrait at this period, and this letter may possibly mean that he wanted to have Mildred Howells as the model for the altered portrait. The Eden v. Whistler trial opened at the Civil Tribunal on 6 March 1895. Howells attended the sittings in court (see his later letter to JW, #02193). The verdict on 13 March 1895 went against JW. He appealed to the Cour de Cassation and won an appeal in August, and a further appeal on 2 December 1897. He was permitted to keep the picture provided that he defaced it and did not make use of it. The case was finally settled in 1900 in JW's favour, Eden paying all costs. See JW's account of the affair:Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].
7. peu de ceremonie
Fr., lack of ceremony