The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Mary Eliza Haweis, 1848-1898

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1848.02.21
Place of Birth: Chelsea
Date of Death: 1898.11.23
Place of Death: Bath


Mary Eliza Haweis, née Joy, was an artist, illustrator and writer on art and decoration. She was the daughter of Eliza Rhoda Joy, née Spratt, and the artist Thomas Musgrove Joy. In 1867 she married Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis, a musician, author, journalist, lecturer and preacher.


At the age of sixteen Mary Joy exhibited in the Royal Academy and Dudley Gallery. Following her marriage she illustrated her husband's books as well as her own. In 1877 she wrote and illustrated Chaucer for Children, A Golden Key. This was followed by Chaucer for Schools (1880), Chaucer's Beads, a Birthday Book (1884) and Tales from Chaucer (1887). She also wrote on domestic art and dress for magazines and published The Art of Beauty (1878), The Art of Dress (1879), The Art of Decoration (1881), Beautiful Houses: being a Description of certain well-known Artistic Houses (2nd ed. 1882), Rus in Urbe: or Flowers that thrive in London Gardens and Smoky Towns (1886) and The Art of Housekeeping: A Bridal Garland (1889). She was a director of Lady Henry Somerset's Mercy League for Animals and a strong supporter of the women's franchise movement. Her novel A Flame of Fire (1897) was written 'to vindicate the helplessness of womankind.'

Mary Haweis accompanied her husband on his lecturing tours. On 19 February 1877 he preached a sermon at St James' Hall in London entitled 'Money and Morals' in which he praised JW's Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178). JW described the lecture as a 'poem of praise' and invited the Haweises to privately view the work before the return of the Leylands (#09163). In 1874/6 they were included in a list of names by JW, possibly a guest list for a private view of his Pall Mall exhibition of 1874 or a subscription list for his Venice etchings as proposed in 1876 (#12714). In 1878 JW suggested calling Rev. Haweis as a witness in the Whistler v. Ruskin trial (#05230). Following the death of D. G. Rossetti in 1882 the Haweises lived at the poet's old residence, Tudor House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.


GPO Birth certificate, Subdistrict of Chelsea, County of Middlesex, 1848, Chelsea III 43 p. 130; Haweis, M. J., My Musical Life and in Travel and Talk; Men of the Time, London, 1899; Dictionary of National Biography Online, Oxford, 1997.