The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867
Record 17 of 31

System Number: 11980
Date: 9 July 1867
Author: William McNeill Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 04 folder W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS

[monogram with motto:] 'WMcNW / VINCERE AUT MORI[3]'

14 Old Burlington St.
Burlington Gardens
London -

July 9th 1867

My Dear Mr Lucas -

I have to apologize to you for having left your letter[4] so long unanswered - I should have written immediately upon its receipt to thank you for your kind attention to my request but I have for the last 3 weeks been so unwell that I have not [p. 2] been able to attend to anything - Just after I wrote you I was seized with an attack of neuralgia & facial paralysis & was obliged to go to Brighton to recruit[5] -

Since my return Mr Smith[6] called & saw Jim[7] about the business[8] as I was too much under the weather to see about it -

My friend Miss Traer[9] begs me to express her thanks to you - I think that she will have her brother's body removed here before very long -

I saw Jim this morning - He is very busy with a lot of new pictures[10] - He desires to be remembered -

Please present my kind regards to Madame[11] & believe me
Very truly Yours

Wm M. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


Monsieur G. Lucas.
41 Rue de l'Arc de triomphe
[postmark:] LONDON-S.W / 5 / JY10 / 67
[postmark:] ANGL. / [...] CALAIS / 11 / JUIL / [67?]

'via Calais'[12]

'Dr Whistler'[13]

[postmark on verso:] PARIS [..] / 2E 11 / JUIL. / 67

'Whistler Brother 2'[14]


1.  William McNeill Whistler
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

Monogram with the motto 'VINCERE AUT MORI' (Lat., 'conquer or die') under the crest of a mailed arm and hand holding a dagger. This is the crest and motto of the McNeills of Colonsay, who were not, as far as is known, related to JW. See #07452, where JW claims to be related to the McNeills of Barra.

4.  letter
See #02654, written in answer to William Whistler's earlier letter, #09562.

5.  recruit
i.e. 'recuperate'.

6.  Mr. Smith
George Smith, undertaker.

7.  Jim

8.  business
In April 1867, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], and William Whistler visited Paris for a medical conference. JW was also in Paris, as his works were on view in the American section of the Paris Exposition. During the trip, Traer died suddenly, allegedly in a brothel. Haden hastily arranged burial rites in Paris in what JW and William Whistler regarded as a disrespectful manner. This led to a violent quarrel between Haden and the Whistler brothers. Soon afterwards, the brothers made fresh arrangements to have Traer's body returned to his sister in England. Smith seems to have been the agent or undertaker (see #09562) who arranged for the exhumation and shipment to England of the body.

9.  Miss Traer
Ellen Traer (b. ca 1837), J. R. Traer's sister [more].

10.  new pictures

11.  Madame
Probably Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more].

12.  'via Calais'
Added by W. G. Whistler in left margin of envelope.

13.  'Dr Whistler'
Added (probably) by G. Lucas in right margin of envelope.

14.  'Whistler Brother 2'
Added in an unknown hand on verso of envelope.