The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Hugh Reginald Haweis, 1838-1901

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1838
Place of Birth: Egham, Surrey
Date of Death: 1901.12.29
Place of Death:


Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis was a musician, author, journalist, lecturer and preacher. He was grandson of Thomas Haweis, the friend and trustee of Lady Huntingdon, and the son of Rev. John Oliver Willyams Haweis (1809-1891), who was from 1874 to 1886 rector of Slaugham in Sussex, and his wife Mary. He was the eldest son of four children. In 1867 he married Mary Eliza Joy, an artist, illustrator and writer on art and decoration. Together the had two sons and a daughter.


Haweis suffered from hip-disease and had a permanent limp. He was gifted at the violin and received instruction from Oury, a pupil of Paganini. As a youth he also wrote verse and prose for the Brighton papers. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was the solo violinist of the Cambridge Musical Society, and where he started a magazine called the Lion. He graduated in 1859 and was ordained in 1861, becoming, successively, curate at St. Peter, Bethnal Green; St. James-the-Less, Westminster; St. Peter, Stepney; and St. James, Westmoreland Street, Marylebone, where he remained until his death. He was a theatrical preacher and organised Sunday evening services that incorporated orchestral music, oratorio performances and exhibitions of sacred images. He was one of the first promoters of the Sunday opening of museums and picture galleries.

Haweis contributed to papers and journals such as the Times, Pall Mall Gazette and Truth, and was on the staff of the Echo. He was general editor in 1886 of Routledge's World Library, and for a year of Cassell's Magazine. His books included Music and Morals (1871), Thoughts for the Times (1872), Speech in Season (1874), Arrows in the Air (1878), My Musical Life (1884), Winged Words (1885), Christ and Christianity, 5 vols (1886-7), The Broad Church; or, What is coming (1891), Sir Morell Mackenzie (1893), Travel and Talk, 2 vols (1896) and Old Violins (1898).

Haweis was a popular lecturer on music and theology in Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 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 Haweis and his wife to privately view the work before the return of the Leylands (#09163). In 1874/6 the Haweises 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 Haweis as a witness in the Whistler v. Ruskin trial (#05230). During the Chicago Exposition of 1893, at which JW showed La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50), Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 66), Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay (YMSM 76), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) and Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242), Haweis lectured at the Parliament of Religions. Following the death of D. G. Rossetti in 1882 he lived at the poet's old residence, Tudor House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. His portrait was painted in oils by Felix Moscheles.


My Musical Life and in Travel and Talk; Men of the Time, London, 1899; Dictionary of National Biography Online, Oxford, 1997.